Reading to Write

As a writer, I am developing a deeper love of reading; I know, I didn’t know that was possible either but I’m so glad to be proven wrong. So now when I read things I am struck by various writers in different ways.

Here’s but a short (and not the all) list of writers who I want to emulate as I work on my own stories:

Laurie R. King, in her Mary Russell series, has blown my mind in how she unabashedly wields her large vocabulary and complex sentence structure to reinvent and flesh out an older Sherlock Holmes in a new century.

Jill Shalvis and Richard Paul Evans in their ability to build flawed characters and build conflict between two people. (Though I’m not the biggest fan of romance, I’ll read Jill Shalvis material because she nails it.)

Jennifer Cruisie, Katie MacAlister, Jim Butcher, and Kevin Hearne because they are in rare form every time I read what they write. They are amazing story tellers but most of all they make me laugh. Almost any book I pick up from them is a treat and I trust their name on the cover will be a safe bet.

If I want to grow as I writer, I must keep filling my tank up with inventive, creative, and better writers than me. It’s also a great excuse to continually read more. I’m always on the lookout for other great writers and when I find them, I’m not shy about extolling their wonderfulness to others. There’s nothing better than recommending a book to someone and when they come back they have the same glint in their eyes that I have about reading another great story.

Do you have trusted authors that you reach for time and time again? Why? I’m always got an open ear for “undiscovered” authors, well ones that I’ve never read before.

To relishing in a great story,

~ the writer

Advertisements

BetaLand

Finally, my first beta reader has finished my WIP (work-in-process). I love getting the feedback from them. Why? Because they are honest and will tell me what I’m missing and what they thought of it as a whole. My beta reader is not a writer but an avid reader. I choose them because they are my target audience, not writers, but readers. My next round of readers are all writers so I expect my book to be dripping red questions marks and slashes but this first round gives me hope that the story in its entirety is decent at least.

Plus I know I will constructive criticism, which should be the only type you get on a WIP. If they don’t like something, they will give me a reason as to the why they didn’t like it not just a rewrite.

Now all I need to do is go and pick the manuscript up and have a little heart to heart with my book.

Mood Shifter

I love coming up with new ways to describe things. It may be odd to make something what is black and white like a typed story into imaging what it would be like if we could describe it with other senses. So here’s my question: is your story like a cozy hot tottie by the fire or maybe so cute that a gaggle of kittens would fart fairy dust? And if it’s not what you want, how can you change it?

A few elements that can change the readers images/sense of the story are sentence structure, word choice, and mood.

Sentence Structure – short simple sentences are like crack for most readers, they move the story along at a fast clip. Dense sentences are great for reflective times where the author is slowing down the pace.

  • My feet slapped the pavement. I gave in. I stopped and leaned against a wall. My breath was ragged and raspy to my ears. There’s no way out, my brain protested.
  • With my breath raspy and ragged in my ears, my feet slapped the pavement. I gave in, leaned against a wall, and thought, there’s no way out.

Word Choice – is paramount because this can change the feel of everything in a story so once you know what mood you’re going for it’s easy to see if a word doesn’t work to create a mood.

  • The fire shot up, pushing the night’s darkness to the edge of the campsite.
  • The fire snaked up into the sky, gobbling up the black sky, and shadows danced around the campsite.

Mood – is the feeling the reader gets from the writing. It’s created by using a combination of sentence structure and word choice.

  • birthday decorations before the party:
  1. Cries of not it float through the window, my lips can’t help but smile. Cake with grass green frosting with five red candles are center stage waiting for the singing masses of his friends to bounce off the walls. It’s perfect.
  2. Cries of not it burst through my roiling emotions. The sounds are everyday but they are hollow. Cake with grass green frosting with five red candles are center stage waiting for the singing masses of his friends to bounce off the walls. It seems so perfect but how long can it last?

The first is light and carefree but in the second there is a sense of foreboding and unease. So using these very basic but powerful elements one change the world or at least shake up your character’s world.

So go reek some havoc and have fun playing with these elements to your hearts desire.

Nothing like messing with your character’s minds. We meddle because we care!

Grit

To become a published author one must ignore much of the noise around them, the inner critic, the outer cynics, the jaded, and the hopeless. These swirls of dissidence will do you no goood. Understand the difference between the anger and fear others have because you are reaching out, breaking out, and refusing to stay small. By following your dream, you are changing the pattern of most people you know; you are striving for something you truly want.

Keep your goal dead ahead, allow the voices that aren’t serving you to achieve your vision to dissolve and be left behind. No one but you can plot your course to get your dreams. Remember you are at the helm. So cut those anchors and explore the vast oceans of your fantasies.

Ahoy mate,

The Writer ~ Melissa