Blog

An Informal Survey of Writers About Reading

A discussion with a writer friend piqued by curiosity about the reading habits of writers. I’d love to see some responses to these questions.

  1. How often do you read?
  2. Do you finish every book you start?
  3. If not, what causes you to stop reading a book?
  4. What’s your definition of flowery language?
  5. Does flowery language discourage you from reading a book?
  6. How important is the first line of a book or story?
  7. Do you read reviews before choosing a book to read?
  8. Do you read ebooks or are you strictly a physical book reader?
  9. What book are you reading right now (or the last book you read)?
  10. Did you leave a review?

 

Blog

Storytellers

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay (Altered)

Day 337

I come from a long line of storytellers. To me, a good oral storyteller is hard to come by these days. We do not seem to spend enough time together to regale one another with stories like I remember. But when we take the time, magic happens.

I have written here how much my grandchildren love the stories I make up. They are fly by the seat of my pants kinds of stories and by the next day, I have forgotten most of them. The key is, however, they remember.

When our first grandson was born, at bedtime we always retreated to bed and I told him a story. This went on for years. Now he is a senior in high school and he still remembers, but the stories have ended. I have decided to write a story for him when he graduates about the coming of age of the protagonist of these made up stories. I know he will like it.

I really enjoy fellow bloggers’ fiction and poetry they so generously share in their blogs. I recently read a serial written by Pete over at BentleyPete that was a bit of a ghost story. Click here to read Moving Day if you are not already following him.

Pete’s story helped me recall all the ghost stories we were told growing up. Sitting around the campfire listening to scary stories perhaps helped me fall in love with a good story. So many urban legends (our stories pre-date that term) about local people and the mysterious circumstances and unexplainable events that haunted them. I remember one about three coffins in the sky floating over the mountains, the aliens my dad saw, the body of a drowning victim never recovered, the mysterious heavy weight on the trunk of a local man’s car, etc. Then there were the Appalachian mountain legends — the Brown Mountain Lights, the Creekfield Woman among many, many others. All fodder for a good ghost story.

The ability to spin a good story and make you feel like you are there is a well honed craft. I am really enjoying Teagan’s latest serial where she uses suggestions of objects from her readers for inclusion in her serials. Her latest endeavor has us boarding the Delta Pearl for a riverboat adventure. If you are not reading along, you should check it out.

Linda G. Hill who so generously hosts writing challenges is a successful writer and editor. Where does she find the time?

Yesterday I read Frank’s blog where he posted part of a poem he penned. It was beautiful. He shared the entire poem and through further discussion I discovered he has a collection of his poetry published.

I started investigating which fellow bloggers have work published available to purchase. I have several selections in my shopping cart on Amazon to buy. I want to support those writers who so generously share their work for me to enjoy.


To those who write here — thank you. I look forward to discovering other things you have written and supporting your efforts. I also look forward to all I have yet to discover. Reading what you write is not only enjoyable, but it also makes me a better writer.

Blog, Writing

Introductions

Day 98

One of my writing lessons today was all about getting the reader interested in the story you have to tell. It made me think about what makes me want to continue reading. Of course, the first line is key.

I found this great infographic from Scribendi.com which they will generously share as long as they are properly credited. Fair enough! Please click on the link below the image and check out their website. They have some helpful articles for writers — and they provide editing and proofreading services to boot.

Compelling First Lines of Famous BooksInfographic created and owned by Scribendi.com

What a powerful list of novels first lines! My most memorable has always been A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

As I ponder the beginning of my book (I am learning the beginning of the book is often not discovered until well into the writing) I ask — what is your favorite book? Do you remember the first line? Or maybe it’s not your favorite book, but one that has stayed with you over the years.

As I was researching today, I also ran into a writing prompt I’ve seen many times before. If you were writing an autobiography, what would your first line be? Well, folks, reducing one’s life into a compelling introductory sentence could be difficult. Definitely food for thought.

It’s been a good, full day. Now I am off to ponder words and try to decide if I am going to enter this writing contest that fell into my lap today.

Blog, Writing

Frightening First Steps

Day 41

I always imagined that by the time I reached my sixties I would no longer be afraid of trying new things. I take jewelry classes and workshops without fear. Art has always been a little easier for me than other things. Yesterday I started to ponder joining a local writers workshop and it has me wondering if I am good enough.

Published Authors

Let’s be honest here. When I see names such as Kurt Vonnegut, Alex Haley and Eudora Welty as prior members, I think I must be crazy for even considering such a thing.

elements of styleOn the other hand, with the caliber of prior members, maybe there would be a huge benefit for me. But I am scared. My command of grammar and punctuation is not what it once was. When I first started as a blog writer for professionals, so much went out the window. It was so hard for me to stop putting two spaces at the end of a sentence. It was a must for alignment of blogs — but has that rule changed?

Is The Elements of Style still the goto handbook? Ugh. A few months ago I signed up for a Sunday night online writers group. I was afraid then, too. I was much relieved when I realized punctuation and grammar were not at all a focus of the group. But writing for publication is a different animal altogether.

What Do I Have to Lose?

The first workshop of interest is this weekend. The subject is writing your memoir. That feels like a comfortable place to start. I do have commitments this weekend, so it might not be possible, but I am excited — and nervous — simply thinking about the possibility.

I think about how much I could learn and spending time with people who write for a living might be a powerful influence. Back in the recesses of my mind, I hear that inner critic laughing and saying, “Who are you trying to kid?”

NaNoWriMo

I am also trying to be cognizant of the impediments to my success with NaNoWriMo this year. November is a crazy month to take on anything new.

Now I sit thinking about the pros and cons of taking this step right now. Maybe the right thing is to pay the annual membership, enter a few of their writing contests (which include critiques) and think about workshops after the first of the year. Then I could finish my NaNoWriMo goal.

Am I a Writer?

I struggle with identifying as a writer. Are there successful authors who started this late in life? Are my arguments logical or fear based? Am I listening to myself or is it that nagging internal critic’s voice I keep hearing?

I feel very much at home when I write. But that does not mean I have the skills to write something for publication. This fear is uncomfortable and maybe conquering the fear should be incentive enough.

(As I write this I remember there is a Grammarly extension for Chrome. Maybe I should install it. Doubts, doubts and more doubts!)

“The thing all writers do best is find ways to avoid writing.”
Alan Dean Foster