Learning from other Authors

1 Comment

One of the best ideas I’ve picked up from articles online and from writer’s magazines is to study other people’s writing. You’ve heard it before, but we can learn from the classics and from the New York Times Best Sellers. Most of you probably won’t want to mark up your fiction books. The answer is to purchase paperbacks at thrift stores or garage sales. Use them to analyze the writing. You can make notes in the margins and circle or underline. My favorite is a combination of notes in margins and color coding what I mark. If it sounds daunting to do that through a whole novel, then do it with the first chapter and select a few others that include the last chapter.

When I’m reading one of my favorite authors, I get involved in the story. For any analysis, I have to go back and read it from a writer’s point of view. I keep in mind character development, what hooks me as a reader, how an author develops suspense, voice, point of view, and how to write plot elements. These will get you started, but there are more you’ll probably think about. I use a different colored pencil for each aspect I’m studying. Try it and I’d love to hear back from you what you think of the method or share how you learn writing skills from other fiction books.

Author: diannegsagan

Dianne G. Sagan has written over 25 books and more than 300 articles in her 20 years as a ghostwriter and published her own work traditionally and indie. She writes fiction and nonfiction. She's an experienced speaker at writers' conferences in the region and an experienced facilitator for writers classes and workshops.

One thought on “Learning from other Authors

  1. I remember Jody telling us how she did that (studied a book of her desired genre) when she was beginning to write during a creative writing course at AC several years ago. I also remember being told it was best not to read books of the same genre as we were writing as we might inadvertently have their words stuck in our minds instead of our own. Since I can’t imagine not being in the middle of a good Christian fiction book, I’m thankful that I write non-fiction! Okay, I will admit, I am envious of the authors who make the books I read come to life!!! Maybe one day….

    Thanks for the helpful tips, Dianne.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s