Riding the Learning Curve
Analyzing the work of your favorite authors can be fun and add value to your own writing. To get started, choose several books from you target genre, preferably books that you've read before. Make sure they are well written and enjoyable reads. Considering your strengths and weaknesses as a writer, make a list of the techniques that you want to analyze.
Here are several ideas that can get you started.
- Various ways the writer hooks the reader in at the beginning of the story, article, and/or chapter.
- Dialogue that sounds authentic to the character but also reveals more about the character - attitude, intentions, etc.
- Novel and interesting usage of figurative language. What works and why does it work?Transitions into and out of scenes, how to move the action along in general.
- How the author begins/ends a chapter, article, short story.
- How do the subplots support the story?
- Effective or ineffective use of literary techniques, i.e. forshadowing, flashbacks, etc.
- How does the protagonist change throughout the story?
- What is the story's arc?
- How the author shows, not tells emotion.
Don't be afraid to write several paragraphs, if need be, to describe how the author achieves any any of the techniques on your list. Its also a good idea to rewrite any weak sections you may notice during your reading. By keeping your notes in a journal, you'll be able to refer to them later and one day, you may be glad that you went the extra mile.