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Reading As A Writer


Next time you read a book, pay attention to the following:

Whose point of view is presented? One character? Many? Omniscient narrator?
Does the author change vocabulary when attention is on different characters?
Notice if and how the author shows rather than tells. Note the use of sensory data.
How does the author handle situations you’d find difficult?
Does the author give clues to the ending?
Notice the rhythm of the prose.

Notice how the characters change from scene to scene.
Notice how the author handles the passage of time.


Suggested Exercises for Reading as a Writer:

Write a synopsis of the book.
Write why you liked it.
What scenes stand out?
What characters stay with you? Can you figure out why?


Reading Non-Fiction as a Writer

• Does the book explore new territory; if not, compare it to others on the topic.

• Does it accomplish what it sets out to?
• Is the information accurate? If not, how do you know?
• Is there a compelling reason that people need this information?
• Does the book convey any message/values/politics/philosophy?
• Does the book present a fresh perspective? Does it put a new spin on an old situation? • Does it move you to see the world in a way you hadn’t before?
• Did you learn something?
• Was it well written? Did it paint a vivid image? Could you feel it with your senses? •What about the rhythm of the language? Did the prose feel like poetry?
• Why did you like/dislike it?


One response »

  1. Maybe for reading fiction: Is the plot crystal clear? Is there a plot? How many subplots are there? How do all of the stories (conflicts, plots) relate?

    Plot is such a neat sounding word. It sounds like something wet and goopy being dropped on a hard, flat surface. Plot! Wet toilet paper in a ball flung to the ceiling in the girl’s room in middle school. Throwing clay to get out air bubbles.

    LOL! Those are all good questions…do you mind if I add them to the list?–MS

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