Want to be a great writer? Read great writing.
I am late to the table, but recently discovered Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Diaz. I LOVE his writing. LOVE it. After devouring his new collection of short stories, This Is How You Lose Her, I have started his novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.
Here's a sampling that puts the title of the short story collection in context. I don't believe it's a spoiler. The narrator has been caught cheating after his girlfriend reads his journal:
"Instead of lowering your head and copping to it like a man, you pick up the journal as one might hold a baby's beshatted diaper, as one might pinch a recently benutted condom. You glance at the offending passages. Then you look at her and smile a smile your dissembling face will remember until the day you die. Baby, you say, baby, this is part of my novel.
"This is how you lose her."