a guest post by Carlie M. A. Cullen
At this time of year, we are all thinking about our resolutions for the coming year and setting writing goals for ourselves. This is a natural thing for us to do. As writers, we need to have something to aim for, whether it’s blogging more regularly, finishing a novel, starting a novel, publishing et al. And it’s only right we should do this, after all, deciding on targets for ourselves is something we just naturally seem to do.
But think about it for a minute. Yes, we need to make our goals realistic and achievable, but have we remembered everything? Is there something really important we might have forgotten?
We writers are readers too. Reading the stories of other authors is what fired our fertile imaginations in the first place; it’s what put the fuel in our engines and started us on this long and often lonely path. So the big question is . . . how many of us have set a READING goal for 2013?
We all want to be the best we can be, to hone our craft through practice and learning from our mistakes, but we can also learn a great deal from reading. Reading the works of other authors can teach us about how to create a compelling plot, how to pace our stories, character profiles and how to make them jump off the page, the difference between plot-driven and character-driven tales, use of description, realistic dialogue, how to inject suspense, how to make fantasy believable, how to scare the reader, creating a series – the list is endless. This enjoyable pastime can also be a great source of inspiration!
Reading can also teach us how NOT to do things. A poorly written book can show us what to avoid if we don’t want to end up receiving negative reviews. A poorly edited work teaches us patience in getting our books to publication and the importance of having a good editor on your side. Always remember – mud sticks! A tarnished reputation is often unrecoverable.