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Wednesday, 9 September 2009

I want to talk about books...

Read any good books lately? How do you read? Are you a speed reader? Skimming the pages, eager to get to the end? Or does it take you a long time to read a book?

I'm a lazy reader. I don't read properly. I skim words I don't understand or pronounce. Mr D'Aubigne becomes simply Mr D. As a writer this is bad. I could be missing fresh new words.

I challenge you to pick up a book and really read it. Don't skim, read every word and use a dictionary for every word you don't understand. Sound out the words you can't pronounce.

Is the book in the first person or the third? The first person is when a book it written as if it is about the author himself - I went to the shops. The third person - she went to the shops.

I makes it more personal and NOW. But the author can only know about other characters in the book if the "I" person knows about them. Using she or "Jon", for instance, and the author has more scope to write about other characters.

Look how the author deals with VP (view point) or description. How does he or she fit in the boring back-story about Andy losing contact with his mum thus finding female relationships hard? How does the author make the characters so alive?

Study your chosen book. Analyse it. See how the author doesn't bombard you with description or blocks of black ink.

Read, read, read. Then study, study, study.


  1. Thanks for sending me your way! I've added you to my blog list and look forward to coming back for more!




  2. Hi :)
    I find I read books in a strange meld of reader/writer. A part of my brain is always critiquing/analyzing/noting whilst another is simply enjoying.
    All the best,

  3. Great advice. Its hard though, I always get sucked into the story and forget about the craft behind it.

  4. If that's the case reread and see HOW the author got you sucked it.

  5. Sometimes I am ashamed (as a writer) to say that I don't give the book the careful consideration it deserves. I get carried away by the plot without taking in all the beauty along the way. However, inversely, I am often stopped in my tracks by a particularly beautiful phrase. More and more I have my writer's brain on while reading and am aware of how the character's voice comes across, how the author deals with chronology and point of view etc. Sometimes I just want to be a reader enthralled by the story.

    Best wishes Alison (@alisonwells)

  6. Sometimes I wish I could be like that Alison. I pick up a book, read the opening line and think, hmmm that's good/bad/could be better. I turn the page and think, hmmm that dialogue isn't so good.
    I'm ALWAYS criticising. It drives me nuts!
    Usually though, I think, wow I wish I could write like that (especially if I'm reading Dean Koontz!)

  7. I find it hard to do, too, and like RKCharron I have a slight identity crisis while reading, which is why I set up
    http://readlikeawriter.blogspot.com to try to draw out some lessons from my reading... more contributions from readers and writers always welcome!

    Kate x

  8. I've had a look Kate, and added you to my favourites!