It has been said often that the best way to learn the craft is to read and read a lot, and read what you want to write, it will be without a doubt the most enjoyable research project you will ever have, become the student.
So now that class is in session go back to that book you couldn’t get enough of and think of the reasons why you stayed up until 3am reading it. Was it the characters and the way they made you feel, as if you were right there with them? Re-read it, analyze and study it after a while you will learn and absorb without a second thought. By reading well-written stories you will learn technique and gain an understand of the genre you have chosen to write. However, it’s important to widen your horizons, so read a wide variety of genres to gain an understanding of the market.
William Faulkner said it best— “Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the most. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out the window.”
How is your research going? Do you pay attention to the structure of the stories you read?