Reading like a writer

Girl reading a book.

Image via Wikipedia

After reading her fantastic debut novel Graceling, I Googled writer Kristin Cashore to learn more about the woman behind the words.  And luckily, she has a blog.  I’ve been subscribed to the weblog for a few years now and have enjoyed her posts, but – interestingly – she rarely talks about the writing process.

Maybe it’s because she has it down already?  Or perhaps, instead of simply talking about it, she’s just out there doing it (her next book comes out in May).

But today (an early Christmas gift!) Cashore did post about writing.

And what she discussed was flagging important pieces of your favorite work to use for inspiration, to learn from – which is exactly why I sought out her website years ago.

This blog post – about how to read like a writer – caught my attention, not just because I feel it’s so important to soak up information from someone seasoned in the industry (and whose work you respect and love), but also because of the focus of her most recent research:

“So I flagged that line about the house, to remind myself that one small way to breathe life into a book is to breathe life into the book’s important spaces.”

In the book I’m working on now, the main character is living in a house that holds secrets to her mother’s past.  The house reveals these secrets slowly, in its own time.  Sometimes I like to think of the house as a character.  It has its own history, its own flaws.  It’s sturdy, though it has weathered time and abuse.

And I like to think about filling up that space with life.

I also like to think about one of my favorite writers considering similar ideas.

If you like her post, I suggest you explore the page on her website discussing her writing process.  She has quite a knack for crafting believable alternate worlds and vulnerable characters.  And I too would like to do that someday.

Many things, we may learn from her.




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