I continue to be shocked by the number of people who tell me that (a) they want to be professional novelists and (b) they don’t read many novels.

I don’t know what to say to these people. Reading is a significant part of this job (and I’m not talking about one book per year).

I thought that was understood.

Studying film and tv shows is also extremely important, especially when it comes to studying story structure. Reading novels, across genre, allows us to study both structure and line-by-line writing.

How many books do you read (or listen to) a year? If you increased that number, how would your understanding of your craft improve?


About the author 

Valerie Francis

Valerie Francis is a bestselling author, literary editor, and podcaster with a passion for stories by, for and about women.

Each month, Valerie recommends books from literature’s best female authors. Selections come from every genre because women write, and read, in every genre. The Women’s Fiction category offers up some terrific novels, but these days there’s a strong female presence in thriller, horror, crime, and other genres traditionally dominated by male writers. No matter what the publishing companies may think, in the 21st Century, Women’s Fiction is whatever we want it to be.

stories for women, by women, and about women