Tag Archives: reading

Writing Doesn’t Have to Be Lonely

Megan Norris Jones

Megan Norris Jones

Last August, I attended a new book festival hosted in my hometown. The daylong schedule was slam-packed with fantastic author panels on all kinds of topics, including an outstanding one on children’s literature. An opportunity to hear from so many authors gathered fifteen minutes from my house—for free!—was a dream come true, so as soon as I got home that night, I marked the date for this year’s festival on my calendar.

So, Saturday morning, I headed downtown to talk to book people about books. The authors were insightful and engaging, and I went to sessions for picture books, middle grade and young adult, in addition to several panels on adult literature. But one of the best parts of going to a local festival was discovering people I thought I knew in the sessions with me. Not only did I find people who loved books, but I discovered other people who created books, both writers and illustrators. Continue reading

Learn to Write By Reading: Scene Structure

WriteOwls

WriteOwls

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

Flow Like a Pro

Megan Norris Jones

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

Voracious Readers, Take Note

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

Naomi Hawkins-Rowe

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

Making Every Word Count

Laura Ayo

Laura Ayo

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