Successful writers say it all the time: To be a good writer, you need to be a good reader. So we challenge you to read more and to read outside of your comfort zone.
This month, find the underlying scene structure in the current book you’re reading. Good writers keep readers turning the pages by crafting one scene that builds on the next in an inevitable, but surprising way. As you read this month, make note of patterns you see from scene to scene so you can identify what keeps you interested in the story and what makes you want to skip ahead. Below are some books we recommend, but feel free to chime in and offer other options to our readers. Then stay tuned for some practical prompts based on our Reading Challenge that you can apply to your own writing.
Alicia: Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
Laura: The disreputable history of Frankie Landau-banks by E. Lockhart
Megan: Arcadia by Lain Pears
Naomi: Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
Stacey: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Megan Norris Jones
Have you ever sat down to write and had one of those miraculous work sessions when the words flow from your fingertips? When you recognize problems in your story and how to fix them? When you didn’t check your email, get up to make a cup of tea, or decide to pursue a little online “research”? There’s a word for that kind of work. It’s called flow, and it happens as a result of focused concentration on a single, challenging task. It’s the most effective, efficient and enjoyable way to work. It’s also darned hard to do. Continue reading
I’ve heard of writers taking a reading day–a designated day where they just read. An idea I’ve grown rather fond of. So much so that I think I’ve spent more time reading than I have writing. My weekly reading day, has transpired into reading days, and very little writing is getting done.
I am certain that it is good to read books that will aid us in various areas of our writing, so as I continue to make my way through my reading goals for 2016, I am choosing to revert to my grad school days to make my reading meaningful and intentional. Rather than just reading for fun, I am now using this time to populate my books with notes on post-its of things the author is doing that will aid me as a writer. Be it story structure, an unorthodox way of solving a problem, a way of developing a character, etc. Continue reading
My Bible study group is reading “The Girl’s Still Got It: Take a Walk with Ruth and the God that Rocked Her World” by Liz Curtis Higgs. Higgs is well known for her series of books about women in the Bible, especially what she calls the “bad” ones. But she’s also published award-winning contemporary fiction, historical fiction and children’s literature. So if you’re tempted to stop reading this blog entry for fear of unsolicited preaching, I promise that what I’m about to say has everything to do with writing. Please stick with me. Continue reading
Megan Norris Jones
We don’t start out as excellent writers. We start out as people who love stories and want to write them. We learn to be writers, but we don’t have to do it alone. In previous posts, I discussed my self-education plan and provided a list of podcasts, blogs, e-newsletters, and magazines that I turn to for a quick shot of education or inspiration. But I’m a writer who is working on a book, so my resource list wouldn’t be complete without the books that have been most helpful in improving my craft. Continue reading