My husband is the ultimate handyman. Seriously, this man can fix anything. He strolls in with his handy little toolbox, fixes the problem, then moves on. It's one of the many things I love about him.
With writing, I'm grateful for all the tools at our disposal. How-to books, writer and agent blogs, Twitter, search engines. Austen and Hemingway were not quite as lucky. These tools help me a great deal, and I'm grateful for them.
I recently finished reading Hunger Games. I know, I know, everyone's read it but me. It was an amazing book, and when I finished, I felt so...inadequate. Then I remembered that great novels are one more tool in my toolbox. I paid attention to what worked. Why did I care so much about the main character? How did Suzanne Collins get someone like me, who never reads this genre, to love her book? Simply put, it's great writing.
By paying attention and absorbing all the greatness out there, we writers can be our own handymen. We can spot weaknesses and fix them. We can toss aside tools that don't work for us, and move on to the tools that are a perfect fit.
What tools do you use with your writing? And do you ever feel horribly inadequate after reading a great book?