This is part three and the last in the series on why writers have to read. This week’s is similar to last weeks – to improve your craft.
When reading a book and you come across a sentence or two that ‘awe’ strike you, write them down. I have a spiral journal I keep handy for this purpose. If you don’t want to interrupt your reading have a pad of sticky notes handy to either jot the page number down or use as a place marker.
About every other week or so, I sit down with my ‘reading’ journal, a large cup of coffee, at least one doughnut and dissect the sentences I’ve accumulated.
Here is an example from Dark Haven by Gail Z. Martin
In the open ground between the camp and dark forest rim, a hazy green light glowed, like low-hanging smoke. From the within the shadows of the trees, the sound of groans carried on the night air.
The first thing I do is identify why I wrote this down something like – setting – description.
Then I write why I like them. Even though these sentences were in the middle of scene, reading just them draws you into the setting. You know you’re in a camp. There is an open space between the camp and forest. A weird haze is limiting your vision. And of course there are groans in the night air because everyone knows you can’t having low-hanging hazy green light without groans – : -)
Now I look at the structure. They are both on the long side.
Then I look at the adjectives and adverbs used. Are they ones I would have picked? If not, why?
Sometimes, I’ll include a sentence(s) that I think totally miss the mark. I then do the same thing only in reverse. But I rarely do this, I prefer to stretch my writing skills by studying really good writing.
I’d love to hear from anyone else who does this with their reading.
Thanks for stopping by.