I think every writer aspires to write good books that people will long remember. Do you remember reading the first book that got you hooked?
I do. It was Lassie Come Home.
I loved it because I experienced many emotions. I laughed, I worried, and I cried. If a book does that, it's a winner.
How does an author cause their readers to experience such emotions?
They work at it! They read most everything they get their hands on. They study the style of other writers. And they go where other writers are to learn their craft.
Read most everything . . .
Most of the writers I know carry a book with them, have books in most every room in the house (yes, the bathroom), and read new releases. Writers read and read and then read some more. They read other authors. They read about writing. They read magazines, newspapers, and blogs. Reading is what brought them to writing. Most every writer was an avid reader first. And then one day they decided they wanted to try writing themselves.
Study style of other writers . . .
Every writer has their own style. Some may think what'shisname writes just like Mr. Perfectwriter, but they don't. How can they? A writer brings a part of themselves to their work. However, you can study style and see how an author dovetails one sentence with another in order to form continuity. You can see that for a tense scene shorter sentences are used. And you can see that some writers are very spare with description while others lay it on. Learn tricks of the trade and then make them work for your style.
Go where other writers are . . .
This is very important. Most writers would gladly become hermits locked away in their writing dens with their computers and books (and chocolate and pizza :)). However, you need to come out and mingle, meet like-minded people and network. This is very valuable. A writer needs friends. We do! We need to interact with others who are struggling just like we are. We need to learn from each other about successes and failures. Writers are odd people. We love to teach others how to write, which is very self-defeating because we're training those who will replace us. BUT it also keeps us on our toes and learning.
How about you? What was the first book that stayed with you for days?
And by the way . . . I started thinking about great books because of a message I received about the Whitney Awards.
The Whitney celebrates great books and great writers. Nominations are only open for four more months. If you have a book written by an LDS author in 2011 that you'd like to nominate, click on the above button and it will take you right to the site.