“I encourage my students to read deeply a broad range of writers, and after each one, try writing a few sentences in that wordsmith’s style. For example, take a signature line from William Faulkner. . . and, while keeping the sentence structure intact, pluck out all of the nouns and verbs and replace them with your own.
Don’t place these emulated lines directly into your own writing. . . Instead, the idea is to practice emulating lines so that the many different styles can work their way into your brain, spin around in the blender of your subconscious, and serve to inform your own unique voice.
No art form exists in a vacuum. The impressionists were friends and rivals who hung around in the same cafes, shared, traded and borrowed, and pushed one another forward. Dancers learn from dancers. New musical genres develop because artists keep responding to one another.
The excellent book Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose helps readers pull aside the curtain to notice what the author-magician is doing, to isolate how each one manages gesture, dialogue and character development, and to learn from others’ strengths and weaknesses.”
Note from Marlene: You can use any author’s writing for this exercise. Suggest using a genre that you want to write in. No matter what, Just Write!
Another blog post that might be helpful: How to be a better writer.