kay friends i have said this before but somehow it always needs saying again, so here goes:
all the writing advice in the world is not going to make you a good writer
i mean, it’ll make you a less bad writer, sure. it’ll smooth out the wrinkles; it’ll hem the ragged edges. reading a lesson on how to write realistic characters is probably going to stop you from creating Alcazor, the Tragic Sorceror who’s Incredibly Handsome and who is Bullied in
high school his Medieval Village but Nevertheless Heroically Beats Up Everyone.
which is totally worth doing, because god knows the creative writing workshops of the world do not need another alcazor. but:
why do you think lord of the rings is so damn good?
do you think j.r.r. tolkien pulled that out of a book on How to Write Epic Fantasy? do you think he took a class at oxford titled Quest Narratives and You?
which is not to say that tolkien didn’t understand the tropes and arcs of epic fantasy and quest narratives— he understood them better than anyone. but he didn’t understand them because he heard about them from a teacher; he understood them because he read beowulf, because he read shakespeare, because he read the iliad and the aeneid and whatever twee children’s books they gave him in rural edwardian england, because he read a fuckton of fairy tales and a fuckton of poetry and also a fuckton of whatever it was his friend c.s. lewis was writing
and more importantly:
lord of the rings is so damn good because tolkien knew what it was like to be a human being.
tolkien fell in love. tolkien went to war, and saw horrifying things, and lost friends. tolkien made friends. tolkien found a god, and talked about that god with other people, and struggled with that god, and loved that god. tolkien spent a childhood in the beautiful green countryside, making up languages with his playmates and having fun. tolkien loved. tolkien lived.
that’s what makes you a good writer. the human experience, whole and lived with enthusiasm. nothing else is going to do it, not really.