Moving to a new place means you dig through your stuff and find some cool books, like English textbooks! Yay!
I know what you're thinking already.
Shakespeare? Chaucer? Boring!
But wait! Just listen.
When a writer opens up to different kinds of literature, you:
1) Improve your reading comprehension skills
2) Expose yourself to a variety of literary techniques
Having this kind of exposure leads you to becoming a better writer! Many YA authors are taking classic works of literature and sprucing them up for a modern audience. Sure, this is really cool, but I say we can't forget the classics!
So where do you start?
First, get yourself a good English textbook. Even if you don't like Renaissance literature that's okay. Find something on American classics.
I like Norton Anthologies. Here is their website. W. W. Norton and Company Inc.
Now browse through your selected textbook. What catches your eye? I also recommend keeping a journal and answer the questions after each story to improve critical thinking skills as well.
Write down the techniques that you found interesting. Did you like the way a particular author utilized characterization, or theme? My favorite technique, foreshadowing, was used by Shakespeare A LOT. Check out Romeo and Juliet (yes, it's a really good and funny play) if you dont believe me!
After you write down your favorite techniques, apply them to creative writing prompts to sharpen your skills.
Ta Da! You just took a step closer to becoming a better writer. Studying the classics and the great masters of yesterday exposes you to new literature but broadens your understanding of what works for your writing style and what you prefer to keep out.
To close this post, I'd like to suggest some of my favorite classics:
Edgar Allen Poe: The Cask Of Amontillado, The Raven, The Tell-Tale Heart, Annabel lee, The Fall Of The House Of Usher
Kate Chopin: Story Of An Hour, The Storm, Désirée’s Baby, The Awakening
William Shakespeare: Sonnets, Romeo and Juliet
Geoffrey Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales
Happy Reading! :)