Read, Read, And Read Some More!

One of the most common recommendations for aspiring authors is to read. Read as much as possible. And it’s good advice. You see, reading works like osmosis. You learn about plot techniques, writing methods, and character building (and more) without consciously thinking that you’re learning. You simply absorb it. And the more good writing you’re exposed to, the more good writing habits you absorb.

If you want to take it a step further, pick an author (or two) whose work you highly admire. You may want to pick an author who writes in the genre you want to write in, but you can learn useful writing techniques from any good book. Once you’ve chosen a book, dissect it. It really is like middle school science class. Cut that book up in your head to study it scene by scene and moment by moment.

Look at the overall plot arc. Look at the secrets hidden and how information is revealed to the reader. Look at how the author added worldbuilding and characterization. Look at imagery, puns, naming, pacing, and dialogue. Look for weaknesses, flaws, and possible ways to fix them. Look at every aspect of that book until you understand exactly how the words pull the reader through the story so strongly that you couldn’t put it down.

If you do this, you will learn vast amounts about writing a successful novel. There is only one downside: after studying it that closely, you may never want to touch that book again. Will it be worth it? That is entirely up to you.

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