I’ve spoken before on the fact that writing is a skill, and as a skill it needs to be used to be kept sharp and to improve. The only way to do that is write (or revise). Sitting down and working is one of the most instructive and important ways one improves their writing skill. But there are other things that should supplement your writing. No, I don’t mean going out and getting your MFA in creative writing or reading every craft book you can get your hands on (not that there is anything with either option). What I mean is that you should read, a lot, and not just in the genre you’re writing.
What can reading novels possibly teach you about writing? Well, for starters, the more you write the more you’ll find yourself to be a critical reader (which can be a blessing and a curse.) You’ll start noticing what works for you as a reader, and what doesn’t–and if you study it, you’ll figure out why. You’ll notice things like pacing, description, and how backstory has been woven into the story. Were these aspects well done? Did you find yourself getting caught up in the story? (if so, that’s a good book to go back and figure out why and what pulled you in.) Or did you get bored and find yourself putting the book down a lot. Study that as well.–don’t be embarrassed to learn from someone else’s mistake. (Or at least, mistake for you. Reading is very opinion based.)
Read in your genre so you know what is out there. Read outside your genre to see what you can glean from those books. Just read. And of course, take what you learn and write.
What are you currently reading? Have you consciously gleaned anything from it? (Even if you haven’t, your inner storyteller was paying attention and you probably picked up on tidbits you didn’t even realize.)
Have a great first day of March everyone.