Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Questions from Readers, Mistakes (Part 5 of 12)

Continuing with Mistakes Beginning Writers Make

Here are a few more mistakes that writers make, even published authors.

11. They don’t read enough. Words are our tools, and we need constantly to improve our ability to handle them. Especially fiction writers trouble me because they tend to read only books within their own genre. That’s why so many novels have the same sound.

My advice: Read as widely and as much as you can. When I was still in graduate school I promised myself that I would read at least one book a week for the rest of my life. One week I may not read much but will go through two or three books the next week.

Here’s a wonderful tip I received from Carmen Leal at least a dozen years ago: I take note of the best-seller lists. FYI, the New York Times weekly list shows books by categories such as fiction and nonfiction. The USA Today lists 50 best-selling books and tracks by sales.

I read both lists each week, mark those I think will be of interest and order them from my county library. My rule is that if I’m still reading after page 40, I buy the book from a bookstore or online.

Not only have I discovered many new writers (new to me), but I’ve been enriched by reading in many fields.

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