First of all, I want to apologize for not getting the writer’s challenge up last week. My husband, myself, my three-year-old, and four-month-old all came down with a horrendous chest cold. Seriously, it was like the plague! 😉 In fact, nine days later, we’re STILL sick, although we’re starting to recover!
The winner of the ten-dollar gift card is Aimee Duffy! I put everyone’s name in a hat and made my husband pick one, so that it would be completely fair. Thanks to everyone for entering! Now, on to this week’s challenge!
Week two- analyze.
The first thing you need to do when you want to write well, is figure out what good writing is, or at least, what good writing means to you. I want you to pick a book that you have ALREADY read and that you fell in love with, but here’s the catch; it also has to be a book that is classified within the genre you write as well. So pick your book (At LEAST one. When I did this step, it was more like four or five.) and re-read it. As you read, make notes. Write a short synopsis of EVERY scene. Write down every major character development. Write down any themes and symbolism you notice. Write down anything that moves you, anything you love, and, conversely, anything you hate. If you hate it, make sure you don’t try to do it in your own book. I know that seems like commonsense, but I can’t tell you how many writers I’ve talked to who said, “Well, so-and-so (insert famous writer here) did it, so I’m doing it too, even though I don’t like it.” If you don’t like it, it probably won’t work for you, no matter how many copies so-and-so sold.
I know that this seems like a lot of work, but I promise you, it’s worth it, especially if you haven’t had a classic education in literature and creative writing. This is the best way to learn how to plot, how to make a character arc, how to weave the different threads of a novel together. You’ll learn the good stuff and the bad; what to do and what not to do. And yes, you really need to write everything down, at least for the first few books you analyze. After that, you’ll start to notice things like plot, character development, theme, pacing, and emotion without having to actively think about it.
When I first started writing, I wanted to write romance. The first book I ever analyzed was Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts. It was an education. I’m not sure I could have ever written a novel without doing this exercise. I’m willing to bet it will help you, too!
Feel free to comment. Let me know how you’re coming in your words-written goals (and yes, you still need to be writing!). Or let me know what book you’re going to analyze. Or let me know how you’re doing with the challenge! I’d love to hear from you! When you comment, if you’d like to be entered into the drawing to receive a critique (from me!) of your ONE PAGE query letter, please mention it. Everyone who asks to be entered in the drawing will be. The winner will be announced at the start of next week’s challenge. Good luck, everyone!