Reading like a Writer

posts displayed by category

Reading like a Writer: Get inside the author’s head.

October 10, 2013

This is the last article in the Reading like a Writer series. Instead of posting each one individually, I’m sending you to the “category” page. Have fun surfing them! This last bit is probably the hardest to really do, but understanding a writer’s motives for the choices he’s made can really help a writer-reader understand why certain elements were used they way they were. By being able to think like the author himself, or at least read his work as closely as he did, you can better understand what he was trying to do, and whether or not he succeeded. Obviously, this is insanely useful for you to be able to look at your own work critically, as well as help you give your writing friends a more valid critique. Slow down Throughout my undergraduate career, I was trained to get through a book as quickly as I could in order to be able to contribute to discussion in class […]


Reading like a Writer: Identify the plot.

October 9, 2013

Check out the first three parts of this series: here, here, and here! Anyway, moving forward. We all know what a plot is–the driving force behind a novel. It’s pretty hard to read a novel and not get at least the basic gist of what the plot is, but if you’re reading like a writer, you should go one step above that. Writer-readers closely consider the elements of a successful plotline to better understand the ways other writers are able to drive their readers through a story without losing their interest or confusing them. A well written plot should be easy to follow and engaging. When reading, try to figure out why a plotline is or is not working. Here are some useful things to consider: Plot Flow The plot should be impelling and pull you through the story. If it doesn’t, there’s a problem. The flow of a plotline has a lot to do with whether or not it […]


Reading like a Writer: Dissect the characters.

October 8, 2013

Again, for those of you who have been keeping up, this is the third post in a series about reading like a writer. You can check out the “why” here, and the first post on writing convention right after it. If you’ve already read those, great! Let’s move onto the next thing to pay attention to: characters. Obviously, characters are extremely important to a successful novel, but even more than that is having intentional characters. There’s nothing worse than writing a character everyone loves and not knowing what exactly you did to make them so damn lovable other than maybe having a character hates and being similarly unable to figure out why. That’s why it’s important to pay so much attention to characters when reading other writer’s work. (If you know me, you know I’m a pretty big fan of being in control of who your characters are, so this is especially useful for that.) Recreational readers tend to blindly […]


Reading like a Writer: Consider the conventions.

October 7, 2013

If you were paying attention yesterday, you caught on that I’m going to be doing a series on “reading like a writer” for the next few days. Yesterday we covered why it’s important for writers to read like writers, and today we’re looking at the first key part to doing that: writing conventions. Writing conventions are pretty much the “basics” of writing, the building blocks of a story: grammar, semantics, organization, structure, and style. When you open a book to start reading like a writer, the first thing you need to pay attention to are these building blocks. First and foremost, these basics are actually not quite so “basic” at the end of the day. Writers use these elements in different ways to achieve different goals. In other words, they break the rules when they need to (keep in mind, though, breaking the rules in your own writing is tricky business unless you know exactly what you’re doing). For example, […]


Reading like a Writer: Why it’s important.

October 6, 2013

Hey guys! This is another topic I touched on before my old site went down, and yet again it’s a topic I feel is still important enough to revisit. Last time, though, I had one giant blog, but this time I’m going to turn it into a series. Today, we’ll talk about why it’s important to read like a writer, and the rest of the series will cover how exactly you do that. I know, I know–why force you guys to read more than one blog post on the topic? Well, on the self-serving side, this “blog-a-day” thing is way easier when I have content that is spreadable across a few days. Two, my original article was well over two thousand words long, and it’s a well-known trend in Marketingland that articles posted above seven-hundred words rarely get read all the way through. That’s right, folks–in the fast-paced world that is the internet, people do not want to read one […]


Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: