Monday, July 13, 2015

Read Like a Writer

As you read through those delicious books you saved for summer, slow down and read like a writer. Here are a three tips: 

1. Be a critic. Notice what you like and don't like. 

If you like something, return to the text and notice how the moment was created. Was it the verbs? Description? Suspense? You might outline the section or the entire piece in order to uncover the skeleton behind the writing. How did the writer create that moment? Learn craft from the text. 

And if you didn't like something? Do the same. Then avoid recreating the same structure in your own writing. 

2. Read the work, all or part, aloud. Listen for the music in the sentences. Reading aloud will slow you down so that you can savor the beauty, rather than just the plot, of the writing. 

3. Study the grammar. Notice where the author used long sentences and short ones in order to alter the pace. What kind of language did the author use? Did she break rules in order to grab the reader's attention? Is she writing more formally or using colloquial slang? Grammar offers guidelines, but it changes with usage. The author is potentially a part of that larger change. 

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