This month of daily writing advice will include tidbits, tips, and sometimes tricks. This isn’t a replacement for editing or book coaching, it’s meant as a jumping off point for exploration and thought! I hope it helps! ~Amy
LEARNING FROM OTHER AUTHORS
Learning from other authors isn’t plagiarizing. We all have strengths and weaknesses and finding an author who does something well that you find difficult can be like striking literary gold. Note, it doesn’t mean that author finds it easy, just that he or she has figured out how to get it to the page in a way that works.
The first order of business is to identify your difficulty. We all have them.
My speed bump (or speed hump) as the signs say in my town, is writing transitions of time — like when a week or month or half a day has passed. When the reader needs to know the story is continuing, not necessarily in the very next moment in time. This has been a challenge for me always.
The second bit of business is to recognize when other authors do it well. Don’t be envious, be joyful. You’ve found your teacher.
For the last months of writing THE LAST BATHING BEAUTY, as I read for pleasure, I wrote down EVERY TRANSITIONAL PHRASE OR SENTENCE that I liked. I used index cards because I heart index cards. You can use anything. I did not list which book or author, just the words. Then, when I was stumped in my own writing, I went to my cards. I wouldn’t (nor could I) “copy” these lines, but I was able to discern what about them worked for me — the phrasing, the cadence, the specificity. Was it the mention of the past? A hint to the future? A description? Some dialogue? Non-analytical me analyzed. Then I wrote my own words that served my own story.
In the same vein, for the past few years as I read historical fiction, I noted what I liked best and liked less — so I could incorporate what worked for me into my dual timeline novel, yep, THE LAST BATHING BEAUTY. Writing this book required a bit of a different approach than my three contemporary novels.
I guess the tip here is READ MUCH READ OFTEN PAY ATTENTION!
See you tomorrow!