As a writer, I feel you need to constantly work on your craft. There are numerous ways to do this and each author works differently, however here are a few of my methods for being a life long learner.
Listen to your editor: For my first novel Wolf’s Castle, I accepted ALL of the comments, grammar, and structure recommendations. With For The Love Of A Gypsy, much of the same, but I also discussed a few of the changes, and now wish I'd pushed for more discussion. For Heather In The Mist, there weren’t as many line edits, however more of plot questions from the editor and I made huge changes and sent back first edits with a very different book. In my opinion, the comments from the editor helped me re-evaluate what I had and with a cold eye I cut those darlings.
Read, read, and read some more: A writer has to be a reader. I know some authors who do not read any books written in the genre they write. I can see the logic behind this. I, however, read everything and anything. This includes books, magazines, and newspaper (online and the old fashion paper ones) articles. You never know where inspiration will strike. Although I am a historical writer, a contemporary situation may influence my story, something I can tweak to make it historically relevant.
Craft Articles: I haven’t been to conferences in a few year, but in the past I did enjoy going to writing classes and attending workshops. Over the summer I read a ton of articles on the writing craft. I searched them out and read them one after another. As a tech geek, I decided there has to be a better way, so now I use the RSS feed to have articles funnel to my Twitter feed. Now I can look at articles from several writing blogs.
Here are some of the articles I recently read:
- 2 Ways to Tell You’re Beginning Your Story Too Soon
- 3 Ways You're Killing Your Story's Tension
- Character Motivation
- How To Write Diverse Characters: A Simple Test
- How to Research Your Book Smarter, Instead of Harder
There are so many intelligent voices out there in blog land and I like the various topics that range from conflict to characterization to social networking for authors. All tools to add to my writer toolbox!
What do you do to keep perfecting your craft?