In the never-ending process of writing a publishable novel, the would-be-published writer spends a lot of time… reading. Why? Because one cannot go without the other.
First, the would-be-published writer has to read already-published books belonging to the genre that he/she is writing in. For example, I read a lot of Young Adult novels, as well as Fantasy/Dystopian novels. It is the only way to know what is already out there (you wouldn’t want to write an entire novel, only to find out that someone else has already written – and published- it). It is also the only way to find out if what you are writing compares (even remotely) with published novels (you wouldn’t want to start writing down your ideas without having a clue about what a GOOD novel is).
Secondly, the would-be-published writer has to read books on writing. The best one I have come across is entitled How Not To Write A Novel by Sandra Newman and Howard Mittelmark. It is a hilarious book that is also an invaluable source of information about what NOT to do when you are trying to write a publishable novel.
Furthermore, in this era of digital technology, the would-be-published writer has to go online and see what others have to say about writing. And once again, I have found some websites that have been incredibly enlightening about the whole writing process:
http://absolutewrite.com/ (the forum is especially good)
http://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/ (Kristen Lamb’s blog)
There are also numerous authors/agents/editors’ websites or blogs worthy of your time, which will be mentioned in another post.
In the meantime, keep reading!