Transcribing old books improves writing

We learn best by following in the steps of those who have succeeded before us. We see our greatest improvements when we seek to learn from those who we admire and respect. A recent project (that of transcribing old biographies) has made me realize that this is an awesome tool in the writer’s learning process.

Over the past couple months I have been sitting down with one of my favorite biographies, a young adult focused title published circa 1932. A wonderful piece of writing that I have long admired. As I prepare this title to be published through Flaming Pen Press, each and every sentence is mine to type into a Word document. It seems tedious at times, yet it has served two benefits that are invaluable. First, transcribing the entire biography is helping me retain the content of the book. The story of Sir Francis Drake is being freshly engrained in my mind. And who doesn’t want to better know world history? I certainly do!

Secondly, through typing each and every word, I find my subconscious learning from the author’s entertaining, albeit antiquated, style. The structuring of her sentences, the way she developed her characters, and the genuine, rather than superfluous, feel to the book’s content.

We learn best by following the best examples of our writing craft.

Q: What methods help you improve your writing?


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The most obvious thing about me is how much I love reading and writing. Great stories are truly my passion and have been for as long as I can remember. Growing up in a conservative Christian home I learned to value God, intelligence, and life. I am always striving to learn. I am a husband and a father to five children. I love my family and my life. God is good and I attribute my success to His provision.

Great fantasy stories are a lot of fun. I write the stories that I want to read and am fortunate enough to have several published novels under my belt as well as more in the pipeline.

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