Read to write

Posted on March 23, 2011


One thing I’ve heard over and over again: if you’re going to write, you need to read. And since reading is such a pleasure, this isn’t a problem.  I really appreciate an author’s sensibility; it’s fascinating to unravel (and bask in) their style. This blurb is about learning from a novel – not just having a bubble bath and diving into a good* read.  Here is what’s on the go:


Obviously this isn’t a book; no leisurely stroll through the pages of a novel has been taken (except my first crack into the Thirty Nine Steps, but I’m only a few pages in). Nope, but proofing is still reading. Every month before meeting with my writing group we exchange work via email (2000 words or less . . . sometimes over, but not too much). It’s really great practise to look over other people’s writing.

Firstly, their styles are all so great and different; I am reminded that storytelling works with all types of narratives. The other day I was proofing my friend’s writing and it kicked up an idea for a short story (noted in my journal, where I keep these ideas between my daily musings and abusings) – it’s a really great thing to get out of your own head – writer’s head – and get into other’s people’s work.

Secondly, editing is an integral part of writing. So the more practise the better. ‘Sometimes you have to kill your darlings’ , that’s what I think when slicing a large, but ultimately unnecessary bit of writing from my story. It’s easier to slice and dice other people’s work, and that’s great practise for when reviewing my own writing.

Thirdly, the folks in my group are excellent writers and I just love to read them.

Today I was looking over their proofs of my work, and as I was inputting the suggestions into my draft, a beautiful insight for the next section of my story awoke in my mind (this is an incredibly cheesy sentence, and yet I’ve decided to leave it in the text). All it takes is one person’s comment on how they’d like to see more of this character, or that situation . . . and off the mind goes on a tangent that leads to some really excellent brainstorming.

I’m so lucky to have my writing group. And okay, proofreading isn’t the same as novel reading – but life is busy, so this will have to count.

Oh man, I’m hot flashing. That means this posting is OVER.  🙂