You've probably heard the adage about how to become a better writer--write, write, and write. I agree with the wisdom of those words, but there's much more I do to continually build my skills. Here's my top ten list.
- Write. I’ve found no better way for continuing to master the craft than to write. Every day, if possible.
- Read in my genre. I read other mystery/thriller writers to learn from their writing and to know the current market.
- Read outside of my genre. The broader my own horizons, the more I can bring to the page.
- Read the recognized masters. Such as Donald Westlake’s GOD SAVE THE MARK for his comic crime fiction, Jim Thompson’s SAVAGE NIGHT for hard boiled crime fiction, Scot Fitzgerald’s THE GREAT GATSBY, and Ken Kesey’s ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOOS NEST, to name a few.
- Participate in a critique group.
- Be open to critique. If you’re feeling defensive, you’re not being open.
- Be an observer of life. A student of human behavior.
- Write a scene from several points of view, both to see which POV works best for the scene, but also to continue to master each POV.
- Attend workshops, conferences or classes on writing. Even if you’ve already familiar with the topic, find something to improve your writing and use the time to build relationships with other writers.
- Critique other’s work. Often it's easier to see all the moving parts of a story when it's not our own.
What do you do to hone your writing skills?
Read more of Richard Hacker’s blogs at www.richardhacker.com and find him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/RWHacker.
You can find DIRTY WATER, and Nick Sibelius’ previous Texas crime adventure, TOXIC RELATIONSHIP at your favorite digital bookseller.