Write Wow!

Writing tips and techniques from the publisher of Swimming Kangaroo Books. Send your 3-page writing sample to be critiqued to dindy@swimmingkangaroo.com with the word "critique" in the subject heading. Your submission will be critiqued on the blog, but your name will not be used unless you give permission.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Read to Write

If you want to be a good writer, you need to READ. This may seem
self-evident, but you would be amazed at how many writers I talk to
who do not ever read. I hear excuses such as:
1. I don't have time
2. I can't afford to buy books (libraries folks!)
3. I don't really like to read much

You read for several reasons:
1. To keep current in your genre
2. To absorb the art of writing
3. To learn how other writers handle various writing elements

If you have problems writing dialogue, then grab some of your
favorite books and analyze the dialogue. See how it flows. How does
the author handle interjections, long conversations between two
people without resorting to "he said/she said" or, worse, "he
said/he said." (With two speakers of the same sex it is very easy to get ripped up in trying to figure out which one is speaking.)

If you see a descriptive phrase that you like, write it down. If you
write action scenes, then find a really good action scene to analyze
and see how the writer pulls you into the scene.

If you like a book, determine why you like it. If you don't like a book, what is it specifically about the book that you don't like?

And here's a good tip: After you read a book, go to Amazon.com and
write a reader review of it. This is a great way to focus on whether a book “works” or not and the book’s main strengths or flaws. It's very simple-- if you have an Amazon account then you can write a review (you can even use your signature line to promo your own material!) After you've written your review and posted it, read through the other reader reviews and see if others agreed with you or if they disagreed.

So don’t just sit at home in the evening watching the idiot box. Grab a book and improve your writing skills by reading!


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