Last week, I shared a link on Twitter to Jodie Renner’s terrific blog post about writing tense action scenes. I found the way she shared the information to be clear and helpful, particularly because she provided examples (much like MSW friend Margie Lawson does in her workshops!) Since I learn by example, I love this approach.
I particularly liked Jodie’s article because I was in the middle of editing a fast-paced novella and reviewing her checklist helped me remember the important aspects of thrillers. I’ve written 20 books and sometimes, while I subconsciously know what to look for in edits, I can have tunnel vision and miss big picture problems. I also think that no writer is perfect, that every writer is (or should be) learning on a regular basis. Does this mean taking classes? Maybe, maybe not. I rarely take classes, though there are some where the presenter is particularly strong or the subject matter something I need help with, where I’ll sit in at ThrillerFest or RWA. But I love reading articles that speak to the way I learn (i.e. examples.) Since I don’t have time to take a lot of on-line workshops or go to every conference and sit in on all the interesting panels or workshops, I read a lot.
Jodie seemed surprised that I read craft articles, but honestly, I think every writer can benefit from continued learning — articles, workshops, brainstorming sessions with friends, classes, reading the masters — every other profession does it, why not us?