Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Keep Your Writing Muscles Warm

So, as I take a wee break from my writing (still resting my brain), I read. That's the way I keep learning. I study the masters, watch them create brilliant sentences and wish I had even half their talent, lol. I think it's important that, even when we're not writing, we're keeping our writing muscles "warm," by reading.

Currently, I'm reading Elizabeth Berg's The Last Time I Saw You. I'm halfway through, and loving it. She's a modern-lit genius, in my book, merging literary and commercial fiction terribly well.

In this particular book, I'm fascinated with her structure. The book centers around a 40th high school reunion. Not a completely original idea, reunions, but her structure is unique. She introduces the reader, in first-person narratives and present tense, to each of the 6 major characters. Each character also has certain flashbacks of high school. We see their lives, pre-reunion, for the first half. So by the time we reach the reunion, we're already aware of the dynamics - who's getting divorced, who's in a verbally-abusive marriage, who's dealing with bad test results. And, who's STILL crushing on whom, from high school. It gives the reunion a sort of suspense it might not otherwise have, if we saw it at the beginning.

Anyway, back to the idea of reading-while-not-writing - I just find that it's a great way to stay in touch with the writing process, and to feel like my writing muscles aren't completely atrophied when it's time to pick up that pen, er, keyboard once again...

1 comment:

  1. Excellent idea! Also, when a certain technique really impresses you...it's good to take note so you can look back and recall what worked, to you as a READER. If it worked for you, it probably worked for other readers also.