Reading Like a Writer

That one still doesn’t come as naturally to me as I would like to. I know about it, even begin doing it, and then, usually find myself swept away by story. I loose myself in it, and I LIKE that.

Thing is, once I close the book, I haven’t learned as much about writing as I would have, if I’d had my writer’s hat on. Jacqueline Woodson once said, at a SCBWI conference, that we should read the books we like at least twice, once to know the story, and then, to study the way it was written. But with the pile of books that never goes down (how could it, new ones keep replacing the ones I just finished reading) it’s hard to read a book again !

As serendipity would have it, I’ve been thinking along these lines for a few days, and today, I read this post on Teaching Authors and here is someone reminding me, yet again, to do precisely what I know I need to do…
Plot is one area of weakness for me. I tend to loose myself in the characters. All of them. I write, and write, and write journals, thoughts, I over-analyze them and their reactions, where they come from, where they go, and why, and how, and all the while, I seem to run around in circles, rather than moving forward with the story. 
The last two books I read were North of Beautiful, by Justina Chen Headley, and Many Stones, by Carolyn Coman. 
So, now that I’ve read the stories, I’ll go back, read them again with notepad and highlighting markers, and try and see how they move their plot forward, then write a small essay, maybe here, discussing what I learned, and including examples I highlighted and noted in the text.
Now where did I put my writer’s hat?

3 thoughts on “Reading Like a Writer

  1. I can’t do that either ! If I really like the story, I don’t really care if it’s well written or not. And while everybody complains about something, I a like “really ? Didn’t realize it” and I feel ashamed because I am supposed to be the writer, right ? 🙂
    I don’t like re-reading, because the enthousiasm is off and then, as you said, I have so many books to read already !
    So I’m trying, more and more, to focus on the writing while enjoying the story. I managed with the last book I read, I should keep it up 😉

  2. I read with a pencil in my hand and I really wish I didn’t… No matter how much I really want to learn more about the craft of writing, I wish I could leave my analytical self behind and just ENJOY READING THE STORY! So, be happy you can just read. It really is such a joy when you can without your inner writer dominating the process!


  3. Hi Jo Ann, and Hello, Miss Footloose ! As in everything, the answer is in finding the right balance, wouldn’t you say? Happy reading and writing, no matter how we all do it 🙂

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