Monday, November 26, 2012
Translating Reading to Fine Writing
So, how do I translate what I'm reading into principles I can integrate into my writing?
1) I read the story for pure enjoyment. If it grabs me and takes me on a breathtaking ride, I go with it.
2) After I finish, I evaluate how the book affected me. Did I keep getting pulled out of the story or was I engaged the entire time? Did the author create characters that were sympathetic or did I want to slap them silly? Was the ending satisfying or did it leave me feeling cheated?
3) When I narrow down the aspects of the book I liked and the ones I found unsatisfactory, I ask myself, "how did she/he do it?" Did the author make all those historical references a natural part of the story or did they pound me over the head with facts? What techniques did the author use to evoke an emotional response in me, the reader?
4) I then compare the methods against my WIP. I'll re-read sections and see if they're effective or need more work.
5) If I were reading my book, would I want to have a sequel or be disappointed at the end?
Writers: How do you translate what you read into tips for your own writing?
Readers: What makes a book go from so-so to so awesome?
Posted by Susan J. Reinhardt at 12:30 AM
Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)
Hi Susan .. interesting - I wonder what I'd feel if when I finished a book I evaluated it at the end. I've no idea!! I just read .. enjoy, am bored, or very happy to read another ..
But I quite see what you say and I do enjoy reading sequels and got hooked into some authors when I was younger - then moved on ...
I hope to explore some creative writing ideas fairly soon ..
Susan, I am still taste testing left overs :)
I read for pleasure, but when I find a book I can't put down, I analyze every aspect of what the author did. Withthat said, I have my own style.
My mom and I were just having a great conversation about how important endings are and how they really influence whether someone likes the book.
I've learned a lot from reading books over the years, but especially reading book beginnings lately. I try to see what kept my interested and what didn't and analyze why.
Those are great tips!
Usually if I laugh or cry at a scene, I'll go back and examine how it was written, sentence structure, word choices, etc.
All I know about analyzing I've learned from my husband and Monk. It does not come naturally to me. Like you said, standing on my head.
But I do try to see how a great sentence is structured, or why certain metaphors work better than others.
I love plays on words. When I think, "Susan is a great role model," I think of a yeast role prancing down the runway in an evening gown--made of huckleberry jam, of course! Not that you remind me of a role... Oh, never mind!
I meant yeast roll. As in, roll. Oh, sheesh, I better go home!
Hi Hilary - Sure, join in the fun! You already have lots of blogging experience. :)
Hi Linda - Every writer should be true to their own voice, but they can glean techniques that will enhance their skills.
Hi Wendy - So true! I loved Gone With The Wind...until the end. Now, I use it as a prime example of a totally unsatisfactory ending.
Hi Cindy - Those first few pages are critical to capturing a reader's interest.
Hi Jess - Yes, an emotional response piques my interest as well.
Hi Jen - LOL! I love your method, but I'm a bit too literal to put it into practice.
I like that: As a Seat-of-the-Pants writer, this comes about as naturally as standing on my head.
I simply know if it was written or not and if I enjoyed it or not.
Great post, Susan. I've been in a rut creatively for a while, and I decided to go back and read some books by one of my all-time favorite authors, just for fun. When I was finished, I felt like I'd spent time with my best friends. And as a nice side benefit, it inspired me to dive back into my story again.
I'm trying to do that now with the book I'm reading as it is written in the first person like mine is. I'm trying to evaluate how it is laid out and what makes me like it.
Hi Sarah - Maybe that's what I need to do! I've been in a major slump.
Hi Terri - I don't know what it will take to get me moving forward again. My favorite authors need to release more books!
Post a Comment