• What inspired you to write in the first place? Was it a really good book? Was it a story you knew you could write better?
• What do you learn from reading another author’s works? Do you recognize that writer’s distinctive style? Can you find his or her voice?
• Does reading a good book make you want to sit down and write? Whether yes or no, why?
• Who is your favorite author? Why? What do that author’s works teach you about great writing?
• What is your genre? Why did you choose to write in that one? Do you read books in your genre? in other genres?
• Do you have a message you want to convey to your readers when you sit down to write? How do you incorporate it into your story without being preachy? How do the authors whose works you read do it?
Writing is so much more than committing words to paper, and the effectiveness of that writing often depends—particularly in the beginning—on our being good readers. We know what makes a book great in our eyes, so every book we read as writers becomes a textbook. Without conscious thought, we note structure, assess dialogue, evaluate details, critique flow, and otherwise appraise it from cover to cover. We discover what makes a story “work,” as well as what keeps it from working. This is a critical step in learning our craft.
We can all benefit from the insights and experiences of others, so please share your thoughts on and your answers to the questions above.
Linda Lane heads a team of editors and other experts who help writers traverse the maze from concept to creation to cash in hand. Check out her website at www.denvereditor.com.