No one knows everything they can possibly know about the world of creative writing. Creative writing is an ever evolving craft. Good writers experiment with new styles and techniques all the time. Pushing oneself with attempts to take one’s craft to higher levels is how we learn, grow and become better writers. Reading other authors’ works on any subjects we can find, exposes us to different ways of expressing our self and teaches us different methods of communicating what we wish to say. Reading everything you can get your hands on is one way to gain a larger vocabulary which will serve you well throughout your writing endeavors. But a lot more goes into writing good text than just knowing a lot of big words.
If you really wish to develop your writing craft through reading, you need to start reading everything with a very critical eye. Forget about the subject of the piece and break down how it was structured. Ask yourself, why do you like this piece? What don’t you like about this piece? What could the author have done better? What would you have done differently? If the piece gets boring at one point try to figure out what can be done to cure that problem without changing the whole focus of the author’s work. Can you identify a signature style of wordsmithing in the piece? Why do you think the author choose to word things the way he did? If you are reading a story, why did the author lay out the form the way he did. Why tell it in the first person as if the story was about himself instead of using the third person technique and writing the same tale through the eyes and thoughts of one of his other main characters? How would the story change if it was told from a different character’s view point?
Reading a lot is definitely a key to learning how to write better. But, it is very important for young writers to force themselves to read stuff that is outside of their comfort zone. Regardless of whether a specific literary genre is the category of writing that you excel at or are trying to learn more about, every creative writer can always find writing tips and advice of significant value by reading and especially studying other writing niches other than their chosen field. A poet or song lyricist for instance can benefit greatly from listening to the lessons or insight given by a top newspaper reporter who is mentoring young journalists. And young journalists can certainly gain knowledge, technique and wisdom from studying our poet laureates. Don’t both crafts require developing intense skills of observation, eloquence of language, a flare for the dramatic and the gift of smooth, comprehensive communication?
Fiction and nonfiction sit at opposite ends of the literary spectrum; one form of literature being true and factual the other being based on the imagination and expression yet they both relying on the skills of telling a story and each type of author can benefit by studying each other’s styles and techniques then adopting them to serve their needs and purposes as they struggle to communicate expressively to their readers. As important as reading is to a young writer’s development it pales in comparison to actually writing something yourself. Few things in life engage a person’s mind more than struggling to write your thoughts down in a way that others will understand where you are coming from. Writing challenges your imagination, dredges up your emotions and can be quite frustrating and fatiguing most of the time.
Learning and developing a craft, so diverse, as writing, is definitely a lifelong experience. Having a mentor willing to help, listen and advise a fellow struggling writer cannot have a value placed on it. The next best thing is to join a writing group where likeminded people interested in developing the same art as you can converse, assist and support each other. We all know that the master can teach the student but remember it is a surprise and delight when the student occasionally teaches the master something too. Any good professor will tell you this does happen quite frequently and understandably more often than it is spoken of! We all learn and grow together.
Writing itself is sometimes mystical. We don’t always know where or how we come up with the stuff we come up with. We’re always over critical when we critique our own work. We doubt ourselves often and worry is this really the best way to say something. Is this the best word? And on top of that writing is art and art is many times hard to define. Everyone’s opinion can differ when art enters the equation which can leave an even an established author quite insecure. All this makes the craft of creative writing all the more tougher to learn or teach. Then by adding the word ‘creative’ to the word ‘writing’ we are putting added pressure on our young scribes to feel they have to always write something that is so utterly unique and astounding that it leaves the reader with their mouth hanging open.
Like with developing any other skill, the most important thing for becoming a better creative writer is practice. The more you write the faster and better you get at writing. Reading and studying is all fine and dandy but writing and writing and writing is what will eventually make you a great writer.
For this reason I urge you all to read every bit of writing advice and tips on this quite, large website. Then, put the theories and tips to use. All the writing help is free and posted on Anewtale.com for the purpose of helping young and old writers, new, professional and amateur writers and scribes of any and all genres, styles and levels of expertise. If you have some incite to add that might help a struggling young artist hone their skills of wordsmithing then by all means share. That is why we blog! Together we can help each other master the honorable craft of creative writing and hopefully, some great new literature will be the result!
Devour the poems and flash fiction of our student writers struggling to make an impression on anyone. Comment and lend your wit where wit is needed. Teaching is one craft where the student and the teacher both always benefit. Our writers crave the attention so constructively critique away! Everyone who publishes on this website knows they do so with the risk of having their feelings hurt. But we promise to take you worst with a grain of salt. It’s all in the spirit of learning! So, don’t be shy. Tell us what you think about any piece on the site even if it is to simply cast a vote for your favorite sci-fi fiction or to announce you really enjoy the work of one of our feature mystery writers. Don’t forget to praise our artists and photographers when deserved, they have feeling too! Now, let’s get writing. For, I cannot think of a nobler endeavor.