on Fiction University:
Most writers can name the book that they read that first made them want to become a writer. For me, it was A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. I read it around 5th grade, and I fell in love with that feeling of being swept away by a story and into another world. I was a reader before that book, but that was the book that sparked something different within me, something that made me think—Hey, I want to be able to give people this feeling, too!
Since then, books have continually inspired me both in my life and in my own writing. I know that’s not news to any writer. Most writers know, in a general sense, that reading fills the well and helps with our creativity. However, I think there are ways to amp up this inspiration source by looking a little more critically at what we read. And it doesn’t have to be in a dry, scholarly way. It can be fun. There can be pretty pens involved…and stickers! 😉
What I’m talking about is a reading journal.
But as a published author, I don’t feel comfortable putting critical reviews out there publicly. The publishing world is small, and I can guarantee that if you put up a negative review of someone’s book, you will 100% be placed on a panel with them at a future conference or will share a book-signing table lol. I don’t need that kind of awkwardness in my life.
So, in a private journal, I can write whatever I want. (And of course, if you’re a digital-preferred person, you can still use the concepts I’m going to talk about if you keep your digital reviews private.) There is freedom in the privacy. You can evaluate what you read. Be critical. Pick things apart. And most of all…learn how to hone and improve your own writing.
How do you do this?