Early in my journey to learn how to write fiction, I filled my stories with the huge no-no’s such as…
- Telling versus Showing
- Stiff Dialogue
- Too Many Adverbs
- Passive Sentences
- Lack of Description
I’d have people read my stories and point these things out. I’d fix the one instance, but I didn’t understand what they meant and how to fix it in my entire story and was blind to identifying them in my writing.
Then I began to critique other’s writer’s stories and it was like darkness lifted and felt my writing improved. (Though, I still struggle.)
I’ve read many stories still in their rough draft.
There is nothing like reading pages and pages of adverbs to realize how they slow down the story’s pacing and make the sentences feel clumsy.
Or having the story told to you instead of the author showing you what’s happening, making my mind wander and have lack of investment in the characters.
And then when you find a FANTASTIC example and tell the author exactly what they did right.
In education, this is called the teach-back method.
I’ve always heard that writers need to also be readers. This is true, but I argue, writers should be readers and give critiques. Reading both STRONG writing examples and still trying to point out the issues (that may not even be there) and reading writing that has struggles equally will help polish your talent.
In my opinion, all writers need to be readers and help others grow their skills. Not only will this improve your skills, but will also help the entire writing community.
What are your thoughts?