Friday, June 23, 2017

Reading As a Writer

Often as I’m reading a book for fun, I’ll catch myself noticing techniques the author used.

Amazing cliff hanger. Ooohh, nice plot twist. Great character development. Interesting word. Excellent dialogue. Whoa, fantastic mystery technique. Smooth, natural way to speak of Jesus in the story.

And so on.

Many times I’ll remind myself to use a certain technique, or word, I come across in my own writing. “Nasty. Hmmm, now that’s a word I’d like to find a use for in a story.”

I laugh at myself when I think like this, but it doesn’t stop me enjoying the book. It usually reminds me of how much writing is a natural part of my being.

I’m always impressed by a writer who makes me so caught up with a character that I find myself praying for the character before I remember it’s just fiction.

I’m a tight writer. In the writers’ group I’m a part of, I hear many people talk about needing to cut their words. I have the opposite problem. I have a hard time coming up with enough words, in fleshing out scenes, in giving enough meat to what’s going on.

I love when I’m reading, and the scene seems so real because of the description and action, and the extra, real-life interruptions that come in. I admire that and wish to grow in that kind of ability.

I crave the skill I see in other writers to create characters so different from each other, who keep each character true to himself, acting in the way that that person would act, because of the way they have been developed.

I just finished a book, WHERE COURAGE CALLS by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan. This was another book that made me think about myself as a writer. The excellent showing of different characters, fully developed, the skill of moving the story along without introducing changes and solutions too soon. And it made me cry. I think that is such a gift to give an author, that our emotions are so moved by the people in the story.

I know I still have so many ways to grow as a writer, to improve this skill. I am grateful that one of the best learning tools for a writer is to read and read and read other writers, and to learn from those that I respect.

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