Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Ways to Build Craft
With each book I write, I want to grow as a writer, learn from myself and others. So I thought I would share some ways I have been doing this over the years.
1. I wrote four completed manuscripts before I sold Shrinking Violet. I did not find this a waste because I truly feel like I grew with each manuscript. Sometimes I see aspiring authors struggle for years with the same manuscript, slicing it to pieces. But I truly felt I learned from each one and one of those manuscripts was Pure Red which will be released in September! I also plan to revise one of the others and hopefully sell it.
2. For me belonging to a critique group is very important, especially in the beginning. There is something about reading aloud to your peers. You can catch so much that way. I used to attend the group weekly and now try to go once a month or every other month, but what I love about my group is that you can go whenever you want.
3. One of the most valuable things is to have is at least a couple of critique partners. These are people you can really trust to help make your manuscript the best it can be. A critique partner knows your strengthens and weaknesses and is someone you can bounce ideas off of at the drop of a hat.
4. Reading is also extremely important to me. I don’t have time to read stacks of books, even though I would love to, so I try to read books that would make the most sense to the book I’m working on. For instance, if I’m looking to add more depth to a character, I try to read a book where the author has done well with this. Or if I’m working on a historical element in a book, I may pick up a historical novel. So I’m not really reading something that is too similar to my book but something that has an element of what I would like to add to my book.
So what are some things you do to hone your craft?