The number one fault with most beginning writers is poor prose style. It's the first sign of an amateur. A halting prose style, one that cannot get its first wind, one that makes readers squirm and sweat and struggle to follow your thoughts should be anathema to any budding writer. But how can you avoid this problem? Moby Dick How can you develop a flowing, easy-to-read, pleasant writing style? The answer is to study the great masters of lyric style. What you'll find there can inspire you to write in a similar vein.

Horace advised writers to study poetry in order to improve their prose. Good poets to study for this purpose include Poe, Swinburne, and Walt Whitman, although all poets have something to teach you about meter, pacing, repetition, and sentence construction. Another method of improving your work is to read it aloud, using your ear to test for euphony.

Those wishing to learn from the masters should read writers like Faulkner, Melville, Conrad, and the early works of Ray Bradbury, especially Something Wicked This Way Comes. Bradbury credits a poetry teacher at the start of his novel. The King James Version of the Bible is also inspirational, as is Mallory's Le Morte d'Arthur. As to more modern examples, Herman Melville's sentences are perhaps a bit old fashioned in places, but the full force of his lilting prose can certainly inspire even the modernist writer. Consider: "And now, concentric circles seized the lone boat itself, and all its crew, and each floating oar, and every lance-pole, and spinning, animate and inanimate, all round and round in one vortex, carried the smallest chip of the Pequod out of sight." (Moby Dick, Chapter 135.) Copying out passages from your favorite lyric writer will help you get the proper rhythms into your own prose. Remember, for this purpose the ear is the most important tool of the writer.