Nancy: Reading Like a Student of Writing

Nancy's Favorites Bookshelf

If there’s one thing we discuss here at 8LW nearly as much as writing books, it’s reading books. And why wouldn’t we? One of the things all of us ladies have in common is that before we were writers, we were avid readers. We continue to read fiction and to use what it teaches us to apply to our own writing. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.

While being a good reader is essential to being a good writer, I try to keep the time dedicated to those activities separate. This is necessary to getting words on the page. But if I’m having a bad day/week/month of writing, I’ve been known to allow myself extra reading time. It keeps my head in the fiction game, I tell myself. If I’m not spending my writing time writing, at least I’m using the hours to study craft, I say. And that’s fine when it’s true.

Unfortunately, sometimes my claims that I’m reading instead of writing because I’m learning is as fictional as the books I write. Continue reading

Jilly: Learning From Other People’s Stories

Learning From Other People's StoriesDo you enjoy deconstructing books, or movies, or TV programs, or your friends’ WIPs? Do you find it useful as well as enjoyable?

It’s been three weeks since I uploaded Dealing With McKenzie to the RWA Golden Heart contest website, and since then I haven’t looked at my completed manuscript or written a word of fiction. I made a deliberate decision to give myself the rest of January to reflect, regroup, and recharge my batteries before diving into Cam’s and Mary’s book.

I spent most of my mini-break learning from other people’s stories in various different ways: lots of reading, four fantastic days zooming around Arizona talking non-stop with Kat and Kay, a wonderful weekend brainstorming with the other Ladies at Justine’s house, and most recently judging Continue reading