And now, back to the post.
How to Become a Great Writer
Last week, I did a post on what makes a writer. I'm seeing this as a continuation of that line of thought.
See, anyone who loves a story has the innate ability to create one.
But to create a story is actually a tiny part of the process. Good writing actually doesn't come from the writing. Writing is to get the ideas down. Editing is where you'll become good.
Good writers are people who understand the craft of writing. So you'll need to learn plot. You'll need to learn characterization. You'll need to understand why an adverb is never a good idea when a strong verb exists. You'll need to know what "strong verb" means. You need to know how to heighten stakes. And where real conflict comes from. And... grammar.
The good news is, any writer learns as he/she writes and edits.
The bad news is, any writer will first need to work on a few stories that suck. I wrote seven unfinished drafts before the one I'm going to publish.
So to become a great writer, first become a writer. Write every day. Get into way of thinking where you'll think in terms of the story and how you can make it good. (BTW, this is something that happens automatically as you learn.) Start with what you've picked up from the books you've read. What sort of character do you like? What's the worst thing that can happen to him? That's a pretty good start to a story.
If your story doesn't work out, that's okay. You'll probably find that you have an even better idea. Better yet, you now know not to make the same mistake as in the previous draft.
Once the book's done and you've done your first edits, get a second opinion. Either get critique partners or an editor. Or both. I like CPs because one, in editing someone else's work, can learn a lot about what makes a great story.
If you can take the critique you'll get, see for yourself where you went wrong, and fix those mistakes, then you'll be well on your way to greatness.
Greatness comes from learning from your mistakes.
What do you think is a sign of greatness in a writer?