Want to be a better writer? Just write.
by Elana Johnson
But that’s exactly how.
You can read a million posts on craft. A million more on what you “should” do and what you shouldn’t. There are lots of books to help you with POV, setting, character, voice, plot, pacing, and everything else you can think of.
But I think the best way to improve the craft of writing is two-fold:
1. Read a lot. What kind of stories do you like? Why do you like them? (Fast pacing, great character development, strong plot arc, killer climax, etc.) What does the author do that you love? (Writing style, voice, sentence structure, placement of clues, twist endings, etc.) What do they do you don’t love?
2. Write more. Practice writing. Take those plot developments, those character arcs, those awesome beginnings you’ve been reading, and practice putting them in your stories. Write a book. And then another one. And then another. Practice does make perfect, as long as you’re trying to implement something new each time you do it.
Obviously, I’m not advocating plagiarism, but I think there is so much to be learned from observing and then trying, practicing, doing.
Just write. I don’t let myself get all caught up in the craft of writing while I’m drafting. That’s the best part about writing. The freedom. The exhilaration of writing something that I like now, but that I’ll perfect later.
It’s only after I complete the Zero Draft that I’ll examine the structure, the setting, the voice, the arcs in the plot and character. And I only do it in a way that makes sense to me. What sense is that? Not really sure, but when I read it, I know.
So for me, the best advice I have to improve craft is to read a lot and practice writing more.
Oh, you want a book that pushes me to write better? Fine. SKIN HUNGER by Kathleen Duey. I read that and thought, “I will never write this well, but I’m going to die trying.”
Have you ever read a book that pushed you to want to write better?