Wednesday, July 21, 2010

It's Writer's Wednesday.

One piece of advice that I offer to every writer I mentor or see in a workshop is "Read what you want to write." Picture books, MG, YA, Thriller, Romance, Mystery...whatever the genre it will help you develop your ear for language.

Find stories with similar themes, structures, characters or plots. Take the book apart and figure out what works and why or if the book fell short of your expectations...figure out why it didn't work.

This can be a difficult task if you are new to the craft of writing and struggling with theme, structure, character and plot in your own work. There is some great help available in the form of book reviews.

Read the book, then read the reviews. Find detailed analysis from book bloggers -- you'll find an extensive list at KitLitosphere Central or subscribe to some of the major reviewers: Booklist, Kirkus, Publisher's Weekly, or School Library Journal to name a few.

Reviews will help you understand a book's strengths and weaknesses. These qualities are the same ones editors and agents will be looking for when they read your work so you want to identify your strengths and correct any weakness in your manuscript. Reviews can give you a check list of sorts.

For more on the subject of reading as a writer, be sure and drop by Through The Tollbooth and read the 5-part series from last year that begins here.

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