Writers know there are thousands of blogs with writing tips, e-books guiding you to better writing, magazines like Writers Digest or Writer to make you writing perfect, not to mention a library of books about creative writing. And like self-improvement books, they all pretty much say the same thing, variation of the same themes.
But there is an easier way to improve your writing. And it is more fun.
Whatever genre you write in, try reading various writers in the same genre. Chances you already have done that, but now read with a different eye. Read like a detective. How does the writer begin his story? Analyze it study it. How does he create characters? How does the writer structure the story?
I had an English professor in college who said read every book twice. Read it once to find out what happens. Read it a second time to find out how it happened. I know it is time consuming to read a book twice, especially when you have a pile of books to read, or have a Kindle full of titles to read. But there is no reason why you can not pick apart a book as you read it for the first time. Read it as a writer, not as a reader.
We have heard one hundred times how to begin a story, but some writers break the rules. Does the book you are reading break rules? How? Does it work? Why?
Of course the danger is the book may be so good, draw you in so far, you forget your original intent on reading. Jerry Lewis reportedly told film students to watch bad movies so you can tell what works, make notes of why, then do not repeat those mistakes. Of course what is a bad movie to you may be a good movie to me. Having reviewed movies for over ten years I know how that goes.
So try a book you would not ordinarily read. Go to a library and browse for something that by scanning,you think may be either a bad book or a good book and work your way through the book making notes for what works and what doesn’t it.
Or for the low price of $2.99 you can try one of my e-novels or short story collection using the same strategy. The point is to analyze with a critical eye of a writer.