This month, we encourage you to identify three to five mentor texts that you can use to improve your writing. A mentor text is a book written in the same genre as your story, targets the same audience or explores comparable themes. It can also be set in the same time period as your work-in-progress or feature characters that face similar conflicts. Spend the next weeks reading through your mentor texts to study how other writers crafted dialogue, navigated between scenes or ramped up drama. As you read, make notes of the things you liked. Share with us the texts you chose and what you discovered. Then, be on the lookout for future posts here that dig deeper into how to get the most out your mentor texts.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, are you drawn to or turned off by books that take place during a pandemic? If you’re drawn to them, what are some you’ve been reading?
Good writing draws us in through relatable, layered characters. Even when those characters are experiencing things we’ve never had to endure, we connect to them through shared emotions. In all likelihood, you’re encountering a variety of emotions as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds. Whether you’re dealing with new feelings or stronger versions of familiar ones, it may be cathartic to journal about your inner thoughts and reflections. Then, when you find yourself writing about a character who is experiencing negative emotions like fear, anxiety or isolation, or positive ones like gratitude, solidarity or generosity, you can return to those journals for inspiration. Even if your characters aren’t facing the same situations that evoked the emotions within you, they can inform your writing as you infuse your characters with an authentic heart.