You know that feeling when you get swept up in a book? When it’s suddenly 2 A.M. and you have to get up early for work but you just have to know who sent out Lara Jean’s love letters? Sometimes a book is so wonderfully crafted it doesn’t feel like you’re reading at all. When you’re caught up in the setting, in the plot, and in the lives of the characters, it can feel like you’re right there in the pages with them. We don’t know about you, but every time we read one of those books and are going through the dreaded book hangover afterwards, there’s always a moment when we stop and say to ourselves, “how can we write like that?”
Well, you have to practice your craft.
Setting, character, plot—and those lesser discussed elements like scene-level tension and sentence-level prose—are intrinsic to craft. They are the integral building blocks of all of the stories you know and love. While it may be tempting to throw craft to the wind, especially if you’re writing that first trash draft, there are elements that should be considered at every stage of a story. No matter if you’re drafting, revising, or standing atop a pile of rubble after blowing up your plot for the twentieth time, craft shouldn’t be ignored, it should be embraced.
But rich stories aren’t born fully formed. They’re built brick by brick, draft by draft. Each revision pulls in another element of craft that pushes your story closer to becoming a living, breathing experience for the reader—one that will induce a book hangover of its own. Every time you corral your characters, untangle your plot, or force your protagonist to face their Emotions™, you learn more about how take a reader’s breath away or stab them in the gut with all the feels (both? Both is good).
As writers, we’re constantly looking to do better. Whether it’s tightening a sentence or writing an emotional arc that will make your critique partner cry, we always have room to grow. And that’s part of the fun! So whether you’re a newbie writer looking to set out on your first adventure (and first page) or are a full time writing wizard, take a look through our ‘craft’ posts to add to your creative arsenal.