Learn from the Best

19 Aug

003Welcome back my friends!  Let’s see what kind of mischief we can get into this week.

Let’s start with a quote and then get down to business.


Just as food eaten without appetite is a tedious nourishment, so does study without zeal damage the memory by not assimilating what it absorbs.

Leonardo da Vinci
Read that quote again.  It speaks volumes no matter what path you take in life.


I am assuming, and that is always a danger, that those who are reading this blog desire to be better writers.  At the risk of kicking the proverbial dead horse, I’m going to discuss this issue of improvement once again.

We have a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips.  Never before, in the history of mankind, has so much knowledge been available to anyone interested enough to do research.  How can we not take advantage of that?

If you want to be a better writer, learn from those who are better than you.  I can learn very little from the writings of a 5th grader. No offense to the 5th graders of the world, but they are not at the level, yet, that I need my mentors to be at.

If I want to be a better mystery writer, I need to read Burke, James, and MacDonald.  The same is true for those interested in being better poets, or memoir writers, or whatever other avenue of writing you follow.  Find out who is the best in that genre and read their works.  What makes them so good?  Why are they considered the best in their field? Do they play metaphors like finely-tuned instruments?  Do they plot a story that is mesmerizing?  Have they crafted a writing voice that is instantly recognizable?  These are the things we must learn if we are to improve our craft.


Go to the library and pick out a book by the best writer in your genre.  Read it….dissect it….and learn from it.


What’s the best movie you have ever seen?  You can only pick one.  Now, why is it the best? What makes that story so memorable?  Can you write a flash fiction using whatever techniques you found in that movie?


The Richard Sullivan Prize in Short Fiction is accepting submissions.  Check it out here.


Say hello to Nell Rose.  You can find her by following this link.  I think you’ll enjoy her sense of humor and the wide-array of “strange” topics she covers with her articles.


I’ll be back Thursday with more tidbits about writing.  You know how much I appreciate you being here.  Let’s do it again soon.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

19 Responses to “Learn from the Best”

  1. Janine Huldie August 19, 2014 at 9:20 pm #

    Always great tips Bill and so happy to see some words of wisdom once again here from you today. Truly hoping you have had a great day so far and almost dinner time here now. Will be signing off for a bit, but not before I dropped by here 🙂

    • Billybuc August 19, 2014 at 9:54 pm #

      Hi Janine! I actually forgot to post this in the a.m….old age is catching up with me. I’m happy to see you here as always.

  2. Denise W. Anderson August 19, 2014 at 9:52 pm #

    This is great advice. I am just starting to scratch the surface in this area and am amazed at the wealth of talent I am finding. I have been able to connect with these people, see the books they have written, and tap into their knowledge in their newsletters, blogs, and websites. It is helping me to upgrade the information I am passing on to my followers as well.

    • Billybuc August 19, 2014 at 9:55 pm #

      Denise, you are doing exactly what you should be doing as you move along on this path. Keep it up my friend, and thank you for the visit.

  3. Shauna L Bowling August 19, 2014 at 9:55 pm #

    You know it’s funny (not really) but when I read a novel now I find myself (looking for and) finding mistakes in grammar, formatting, flow, dialogue (who says, “I think it is time to…. Real people say, I think it’s time to….) It kinda spoils the read to an extent. However, on the flip side, breezing through a book and enjoying the read is why I read. And why I write. When I find a writer that doesn’t bring out the critic in me, he’s got me hooked.

    I just read a novel reviewed and recommended by a friend called “Monster” by Frank Peretti. It was awesome and I never found myself critiquing layout, dialogue, character presentation, or anything of the sort. The book was well-written, key characters came to be those you rooted for (or hated), minors were as inconsequential as they needed to be, the page layout was right on, and I never felt the urge to put the book down.

    I even read the snippets included at the end from two of his other novels. To me, that speaks volumes of the author.

    • Billybuc August 19, 2014 at 10:39 pm #

      Sha, to me that speaks volumes as well. I’ll check out that author. Sounds right up my alley. Thanks!

      • Shauna L Bowling August 19, 2014 at 10:49 pm #

        You’ll enjoy it, Bill. I did. It’s quite hefty. Has almost as many pages as Resurrecting Tobias.

  4. rjfuller2013 August 19, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    You mentioned one of my favorite writers. She took me to the royal wedding and we had a ball, of course only in her writing. Have a great day..

    • Billybuc August 19, 2014 at 10:40 pm #

      Thanks, Ruby, and she is one of my favorites as well.

  5. Audrey Howitt August 19, 2014 at 10:28 pm #

    I am a voracious reader and always have been. I once had a teacher tell me that we learn to write from reading rather than following the rules of grammar and I still think that teacher was correct! Good to be back reading and writing!

    • Billybuc August 19, 2014 at 10:40 pm #

      I believe that to be true, too, Audrey, and I always will. Thanks for mentioning that, and it’s good to have you back.

  6. Michael Milec August 20, 2014 at 1:30 am #

    Perfect advise, my friend. Exactly what I’ve learn at the beginning of my journey to success:
    “übung macht den Meister”=
    practice makes perfect.
    Germans were good in advice by example ,- just as billybuc is.

    • Billybuc August 20, 2014 at 2:28 am #

      Michael my friend, I know of no other way to succeed but to practice. I may never be perfect, but it is a goal I can try for. 🙂 sleep well, Michael, and blessings always.

  7. Leslie August 20, 2014 at 2:32 pm #

    The best writer in my genre? Hmmmm….The richest is EL James, but….(lol)
    Great advice as always, Bill-broxx

    • Billybuc August 20, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

      Leslie…I might not be able to answer my own question..the best writer….maybe I haven’t read him/her yet. 🙂 Good to see you, Sis!

  8. Ruchira Khanna August 20, 2014 at 10:09 pm #

    I like your advise…best genre author!

    gotta grab paul coelho’s latest adultery, now 🙂

    • Billybuc August 21, 2014 at 12:02 am #

      Well there you go, Ruchira. Happy reading! 🙂 and thank you!

  9. Melanie Chisnall August 21, 2014 at 2:17 pm #

    Just popping in to say hi and happy Thursday. Hope you’re having a great day Bill 🙂

    • Billybuc August 21, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

      Thank you Mel. I don’t know if you are active on your website. I never get notices about it.

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