4. Read. Read. Read.
If you want to be a writer, you need to read. When I took a class from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, the professor told us to write what we like to read. Pick a genre and then read over one hundred books in that genre. Read the classics, the best sellers, your favorite authors, and different historical periods.
Be a curious reader. Read to understand how the plot structure works, Pay attention to the side characters and subplots. Take notes. Try to plot the rise and fall of the suspense. Read to unweave the mystery.
Be an observant reader. Look for the details that tie in later in the book. I am guilty of being a fast reader and sometimes missing minor clues. Drink in the storyline and watch for character nuances.
Be a reader who reads to learn. Gather information about the period you want to write and describe. Pick your favorite time and research topics which leads you to more reading. Knowledge is power.
Be a reader who escapes into the world of fiction and puts behind the worries of the day. Immerse yourself into these beautiful worlds that the author has created.
My best advice to new writers is to read, study, and learn about yourself as a reader. Develop consistent reading habits and goals. You will be a better writer in the long run. Now, I know you have a stack of books next to your bed marked unread. Select one. Find your favorite blanket and find a comfy space to curl up and read. Enjoy!