I’ve procrastinated long enough. We really need to start talking about writing. I’ve dawdled, though, because I’m not sure that there’s anything I can add. There are about a zillion books on writing in print. (Seriously, type in “books on writing” at Amazon.com and you get 207,642 results. Today. Do I really want to compete with that?)
Nah. But I have some opinions. Really, that’s all you get with me. :)
It amazes me how many people—of all stripes—think they have a novel in ’em, but then (upon further inquiry) admit that they haven’t actually read one in months or years. ’Splain that to me, Lucy. The most important thing a fiction writer can do to improve his (or her) (but do note that from now on I’m just going to use the universal masculine, because… It’s. Just. Easier.) craft is to read fiction. Read everything you can get your hands on, yes, and definitely read writers of any type (fiction or nonfiction) whose style of writing you admire and wish too emulate … but definitely read as much fiction as you can get into your schedule. If you want to write chick lit, you need to be reading chick lit. Honestly, this seems just so doggone obvious, I’m embarrassed to make it the subject of a blog.
The reason I say “read fiction” is that it is a completely different craft from nonfiction. You may be a highly skilled writer of journalism, or of marketing copy, or of chatty newsletters, but a novel is an altogether different animal. You need to flex a different set of muscles to really get fiction right!
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