If you’re planning to write a book, or if you’ve already started, read as many books as you can that are like yours. Do this whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction. Get them from libraries, book stores, online, or borrow them from friends.
If you’re writing fiction, read books by authors you really like. What is it about their style that you admire? You may even want to use their style as inspiration. Was it the characters, the narrative, the scene-setting, the plot, the twist, the ending? Read other books by those authors. But remember, don’t copy. Make your writing reflect who you are.
If you’re writing non-fiction, do the same thing, except read up on your topic idea rather than all the books by one author. It’s amazing how many ideas you’ll get from this topic-grazing. It’s hard to imagine how you wouldn’t get at least one idea from each book. Actually, you’ll likely get several or even lots. But again, no stealing. Ideas are neither copyrightable nor patentable (unless reduced to practice). But the text you’re reading more than likely has been copyrighted. So, take any ideas that get you attention, and remold them into your own wording.
You’ve probably heard or read somewhere that good writers are most often good readers. The reason is simple. The more you immerse yourself in information or style, the more likely your writing will be fuller and richer. This is a case where the “competition” can really help.
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