Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Summer Reading and Professional Writing

So you are composing your summer reading lists right now. Many of you have already made that list and are hitting the book stores in terms of that huge list. Before you do that though, I want you to stop and think about something. Why not kill two birds with one stone. Why not take the time to read the authors that have just come out with books in your genre and research what they have done.

Now I know what you are thinking. I want a break from the research. Yeah, yeah, what ever. The problem with that line is that you have been doing that all year. As a writer, it is beyond crucial to take the time to understand what those publishers just bought and what it was about the voice a particular author had that propelled them to buy the book. This is the key to really improving your craft.

Too often, writers tell me when they do this, they aren't enjoying the plot any more. They want to just sit back and enjoy the ride. Yeah, yeah, what ever. I'm talking professional writers here. It takes time to dissect what the other person is really doing. If a writer has inserted a totally cool secondary character, study what he or she was doing. It is more than the plot that you are looking at. It involves the voice, the description and the like.

When you do go out there and research writers, find the ones that are new to the line. Don't go running to the established authors that are now on book 20. These are the ones you use for the "enjoyable" summer read. Go for the new ones. These are the writers that are more like you. What was it that they have that you might be missing. You can find it.

Right now, I am still on the quest for the perfect "women's fiction" story. I love these books that reading clubs clamor over. That people talk about and want to share. You know the type. The books that make you say, "let me read this to you." For that reason, I am diving all over those books this summer. I also have my collection of romances sitting here on my desk, but the serious research focus is the other stack.

Summer reading though? I am hanging out in Tuscany right now with A Thousand Days In Tuscany. I do this to punish myself. I do this to remind me that I would give anything to be over there working. So if you are listening Harlequin Modadori, I am available! Of course, I won't be picky.

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