Here’s a no brainer, find good books and read them – twice! Once as a reader, let it soak in, enjoy the ride, let the story take you. Experience the literary impact that a good book has on you. Then read it again, although this time as a writer! You now know everything the writer knew, during your first read, when he knew the outcome and you didn’t. Study the set ups, now that you know how they pay off. Look for how the writer infused them into the story? Pay attention to the character development, at best it should have been barely conscious to you in the first reading, but, as an analysis, note how that a person was being drawn before your eyes. Find all the little touches, moments, places where character was defined, enhanced or reinforced. Maybe even find a few things you were unaware of during your first read. Things like, the vocal styles of characters, style of prose of scene description that may subtlety have changed depending on the character that is in the setting. Or a change in point of view which enhances pacing. Possibly a dynamic pulse created by length of sentences to accelerate or slow up the plot. Apply this same analysis to Plot, Settings, Dialogue and Subtext!
Finally, this being the last tip in the series, I leave you with two thoughts;
One: Nothing an English professor, George Bernard Shaw or I could impart on you will actually help you write as well as you, writing everyday! Writing is a muscle. It responds to, and needs to be, exercised regularly. Write a sentence, a paragraph, page or (on rare occasions) chapter everyday. Write prose, poetry or essays, write anything, but just write. The more you do it, the more you hone your writing chops.
Two: To write is to rewrite. Don’t be afraid, it may seem like it’s perfect… but that was with yesterday’s eyes, today you’ll see new words, opportunities and connections. Rewrite your way to a final draft.