If you’re reading this, then you’re probably a writer, a good writer, or someone who wants to be a better writer. Have you ever re-read something you wrote years ago, and thought you could have done better? Most of us have. One of the keys to becoming a better writer is to read more, and read critically as in making a few observations. Here are five ways to get the most out of reading other authors and writers’ work.
- Study the ways in which they use words. Are they given to be brief yet descriptive? Is the author known for writing long sentences that contain difficult words?
- Ask yourself how the writer uses tension to tell a story. How do they articulate tension: directly or subtly?
- What type of person is the protagonist? Likable or unlikable? Quiet and action-oriented? Wordy and laid back? How long does it take for you to relate to a protagonist?
- What literary devices are found in the book?
- How complicated is the story to follow? Ask yourself why it is complicated, and force yourself to come up with reasons that challenge you as a reader and writer.
One of the things suggested is that you read books outside of your norm and genre. If you are a romance writer, then read mysteries or historic novels. If you read mainly Christian authors, then seek out mainstream authors’ works. If you generally read contemporary novels, then read some of the classics.
The point is to stretch as a reader, and watch how you stretch as an author.