Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Learn By Reading

If you find yourself imitating another writer, that doesn't have to be a bad thing, especially if you are a young or a new writer. However, you should be conscious of exactly how you are imitating him - word choice, sentence structure, motifs? - and think about why you're doing it.
Poppy Z. Brite

My daughter has been very sick the last few days, so computer time has been very limited. That includes sitting down to write. That does not mean I have not been working on my WIP. Since I've spent the majority of time the last five days snuggling with a sleeping child, I decided to use that time to study one of my favorite authors. Charlaine Harris, the woman is a freakin' genius.

I've mentioned before that the best way to learn from an author about how to write was to read everything you can by that author. I've done that already, I've read all of her series, I own all of the Sookie Books, and the Grave Books. I've read Aurora and Lily Bard. While I'm not a huge fan of her Aurora books, I know several people are, I did very much love Lily. Of course, the paranormal aspects of Sookie and Harper are what puts them at my top of the list, I love the stories, I love the worlds Charlaine creates. I envy her ability to make the characters so very, very real, ALL of the characters and write only in First Person.

Since I've been writing in First Person, and it is not a POV that comes natural to me,

So, the last few days that my daughter has spent home being sick, I've spent reading the Sookie Books. I can honestly say I love the books. I am so very invested in the characters, that I tend to get lost in just being a reader of the books instead of learning anything at all from the writing. This time, specifically I made sure to read slow and study what it was that I loved so very much about Harris' work, and what it was I could learn from it.

Simplicity. That's what I learned.

Harris has a way to make a profound statement in a sentence composed of few words. By simply leaving out all of the fluff, Harris hooks you and will. not. let. go. THAT is what I want to achieve. So I've been studying it, trying to grasp how she does it, so that I can put my own spin on the style.

There is nothing wrong with learning at the hands of the master, and if I could have just ten minutes of Harris' time to discuss writing -well, I would not have enough time- I bet I could learn an awful lot.

Not only have I had a good education reading this type of fiction, since it's a series, I've learned many ways to carry on one of my own, which is what I have planned. I've never really read any of Charlaine's writing advice, and I have never had the privilage of hearing her speak, but I've learned more from reading her books than I could ever learn from her actual process.

Books. They really do have so much more contained in the pages than the plot.

Take Care

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