So you want to be a writer, huh? Where do you start figuring out just what kind of writer you want to be? What genre will be your genre?
Reading, that’s how. Reading everything you can get your hands on, not necessarily for pure enjoyment, but to learn from. Books are your best teachers.
What inspires you about the book? What parts of really catch you, make you feel? How did the author lead up to that moment in the character’s life?
Even for established authors, reading is one of the most important aspects of growth. Pick up your favorite book and read it as a writer instead of a reader. Wear your inner editor’s cap and dissect as you read. Break the book down into “acts” like a play. What did the author do that really worked? What didn’t? How did they establish their back story? Build their characters? Introduce the primary conflict? How did they begin the story? How did they end it? What made the characters real to you?
These are all great questions to keep in mind while reading.
An even better and more direct method of learning from others, is to jump onto a critiquing site like http://www.scribophile.com. Not necessarily to post your work right away, because that’s a little akin to standing naked on a stage and asking for others to point out your flaws, but to read what others write and the advice they receive. I learned more by critiquing others work than I did posting my own.
Give yourself time to learn. It won’t happen overnight, but if you take the time to absorb all that you read, your writing will begin to shine, too.
What book inspired you the most, made you decide, Yes, I can do this?