Wednesday, September 4, 2013

You've Gotta Read to Write

Over the past few weeks, I've been trying to keep my hands off my manuscript. I've sent it off to a few people to read, and I'm waiting patiently (ha!) for their input.

In the meantime, I'm catching up on my reading. This last weekend I went through three books, and it was glorious. (Thank goodness for the local library.)

I keep hearing that if you want to write, you've really got to read. Makes sense.


Some Stuff You Can Learn

(What can I say? I like to keep my headings eloquent.)

Over this last weekend, I read:
  • A book with an unexpected romance.
  • A book with an unexpected villain.
  • A book where some of the sentences made me stratch my head in confusion.
  • A book where I thought for sure that I knew where it was going. I was wrong. 
  • A book that I loved except for this one incredibly implausible part of the ending that downgraded this book from a 5 star book to a 4 star book (for me).
  • A book with cool, old-school illustrations that really help set the right atmosphere.
  • A book with fairly formal descriptions and language choices.
  • A book packed full of action.
  • A book set in a world entirely different from my own.
No, these are not all different books.


Taking It From Reading to Writing

The point is, from being a reader, I can see what works and how it works. I can see what annoys the crap out of me and analyze why.

Unfortunately, taking time out to pick apart what I'm reading does detract from the experience of losing yourself in your book. (It's a little annoying when you just can't stop analyzing the book you're reading and enjoying). But it is a pretty essential part of being a writer.

Of course, taking that level of analysis to a book that you wrote, that you know intimately, is hard. When you understand exactly why your character is acting like a little brat, it's hard to stand back and say, "Oh, this section might really annoy my reader." Or if you really, really want something to happen and you know its got to happen and you know why, it might be hard to realize, "Uh, that completely came out of left field."

But, hey, at least reading is the fun part of writing. Books are cool.


  1. I'm jealous that you got to read three whole books in one week! I've been reading the same book for three weeks.

    1. Hi Camilla!!!
      Yeah, I have a gym book that I pretty much never get through (I can read an elliptical at the same time, though, which is quite a talent) and a stack of other books I cannot make myself touch, but every now and again I go on a reading jag. It's fun.