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January 12, 2024

Tip for Aspiring Authors

Woman reading in cafe.

I’ve been writing for a long time now. Wow! Just did a mental count, and it’s over twenty years with my first book published in 2004. I feel positively ancient. Anyway, new writers are always popping into Facebook and other writer groups, eager for pearls of wisdom.

My first tip, and I think one of the most important ones is to read! Read often and as much as you can. Treat each book as a lesson. Did it suck you into the world? Yes—work out why and take notes. No? This is equally important. What was it that got in the way of your enjoyment? Was it a slow start? Too many characters? An unlikeable character? Did the story start in a weird place that didn’t make sense? Did you feel as if you stood inside a white box with no idea of what your surroundings look like? No descriptions or anchors to orientate you?

The intention is not to bash the author because we all have different tastes and enjoy different books. The idea is to work out what appeals to you—the aspiring writer—and to emulate this with your own twist.

Reading allows you to instinctively understand pacing and hooks to draw the reader deep into your world. It shows you how to develop your characters, and if you’re intending to write romance, you’re sucked into the world of tropes. Friends to lovers, enemies to lovers, billionaires, shifters, small-town romances, and many others: you’ll come across them all and learn how to use tropes as the building blocks of your novels.

You’ll learn what your preferences are when it comes to love scenes. Do you prefer sweet romances where the bedroom door remains closed? Spiciness at the other end of the spectrum or something in between?

Aspiring authors should read the type of books they think they want to write. This helps you to learn the conventions for the different genres. And lastly, reading helps one keep up with the different trends and what is popular. I’m not saying you need to write in the same genre as the latest big seller, but you need to be aware because you never know when a small tidbit might cause inspiration that you can take and use in your work-in-progress.

Read to learn and read for enjoyment. Either way, you can’t lose.

Shelley Munro lives in New Zealand and writes paranormal and contemporary romances full of adventure and humor. Also, a dead body or two. Visit her website to learn more.