It might seem odd that my first writing tip is to read, but it’s honestly the best thing you can do to make your writing better. That said, I’m not saying to just willy-nilly read books. You have to actively read them. If you find yourself getting lost in a story and loving it, awesome. That’s a sign of good writing. So enjoy that first read. Then, go back and read it again. And again. Don’t let yourself get totally lost as you read. Instead, constantly ask yourself some questions:
- How are they showing characterization?
- Any awesome pieces of dialogue? Why do you like it? What makes it feel real?
- How are they using description in the novel? What do you like or dislike about it?
- How is setting being used in the story?
- How are they pacing the story? When do they break scenes? Chapters?
- What point of view are they using? Is it distracting? Limiting?
- How are they using their words efficiently and effectively?
Anything that catches your eye, take note of. Pay attention. Even if—or maybe especially if—you find yourself hating a book, figure out why. What is it about that book that gets on your nerves? If you love a book, what is it about the writing that sucks you in?
Then, when you sit down to write and are wondering how to go about it, take the lessons that you learned from authors that you love. I’m not saying to copy them, but learn from them. One of the greatest tools a writer can have is being well-read.