This tip emerged during my interview with Sharvette Mitchell (see previous post) but it bears repeating: Read what you want to write! You need to know the unwritten rules of the genre to which you aspire. Readers in a particular genre expect–even demand–that authors conform. Need I say that the rules for romance novels differ drastically from the rules for a spy thriller? There are many books out there with titles that begin How to Write a …. Such books typically spell out the rules for you. But even knowing the rules, you still need to read broadly within that genre–books you like and those you don’t. Try to analyze their differences, identifying what you want to emulate and what you want to avoid.