Reading Circles – A Writer’s Book of Days {Part 4}

Happy Friday, everyone! And welcome to another week at Reading Circles! I hope you’ve pulled up a comfy chair. If we were meeting in real life, I’d be passing out fresh-baked peanut butter chocolate chip cookies and lemonade.

Last week, we also had a fantastic suggestion to share some of our own writing, so we could give each other feedback. So, starting this week, I’m including a linky with these posts. Please do link up anything you’d like to receive feedback on. It can be a response to something in the book we’re reading or it could be a timed writing you did on your own. If you participate in Just Write or 5-Minute Fridays or similar blog memes, please feel welcome to link it up here too, and please try to visit at least one other person who has joined in.

When you comment on a person’s piece, please comment on 1) what words, images, or phrases stuck with you or really worked for you, and/or 2) how you can see the writer has incorporated some lesson or guideline from what we’ve read here.

What did you think of last week’s reading? Have you been able to identify any places where you could push deeper? I’ll tell you, I’ve found a couple places in my book where I kind of lazily imagined how the character would act and I had to force myself to sit down and really imagine myself into the situation. But I know I’m getting closer and closer to truth when I start writing things that I hope particular people I know never see. The piece I’m including in the linky below refers to someone very near and dear to me, and the only way I dared publish it was because she normally doesn’t read my blog unless I point her to a particular post I think she would like to read.

Have you ever written anything that felt dangerous to say? Were you able to push past the shaky feeling and write it? How did it feel? Liberating? Terrifying? Please share with us what the experience was like for you.

This week, I’d like us to skip ahead to Guideline 7: Kiss Your Frogs, which delves more deeply in how to write into vulnerability. I’d like to recommend reading the whole section, but if you’re short on time, I’ll direct your attention in particular to the mini-sections on “Being Vulnerable on the Page”, “The Writing Life: Mentors and Heroes,” and “Better Verbs, Fewer Adverbs.”

This section also discusses what authors shape us: which literary greats or popular sensations, or under-appreciated writers have shaped how you write? What is your family tree? For next week, let’s share the writers that compose our family trees. You can write it out in prose form, or create a diagram in Photoshop, draw an image and scan it in, etc. Who are your literary mothers and fathers?

One last bit of business before you go: This is the second to last post I’ll be doing on A Writer’s Book of Days before we shift gears. From here, I’d like to go one of two ways. We could either 1) read an actual novel and analyze together how the author achieved various goals and outcomes in their writing, or 2) move into readings on plot & structure and do exercises to help move from the kernel of idea to a comprehensive plot. The first might be a nice change of pace from the technical aspects. The second option might give some inspiration in areas many of you are interested in, and give us more vocabulary and tools to discuss in analyzing novels or other finished works. What’s your vote?

Have a great weekend everyone!

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6 responses to “Reading Circles – A Writer’s Book of Days {Part 4}

  1. * “Have you ever written anything that felt dangerous to say?”

    A few years ago I wrote a piece on body image. To this day, I think it was the hardest thing I’ve ever written. It was liberating, but it was also exhausting and draining. I have to admit though, that it ended up being an article that I am still very proud of.

    * I apologize that I don’t have any writing to share this week. The only writing that I’ve found time for is on my blog. Last week was final’s week for the class I’m taking.

    * As far as voting on where to go next: I really have no clue. I rarely read fiction, and I don’t write it. So I’m not going to be much help as to whether we should read a novel or read on plot and structure.

  2. That’s really fabulous that you were able to write something that was so personally challenging! I’m sure it must have been difficult, but I’m so glad you did it.

    If I can ask, what is it you do like to read and/or write? I do think that reading fiction can be helpful for other types of writing (when you read it with a writer’s eye), and the piece I have in mind to start with if we choose to read on plot & structure could be adapted for other kinds of writing too…but before I argue that too strongly, I’d like to hear your thoughts.

  3. I like to write articles, personal essays, and the very rare poem. I mostly like to read nonfiction. I like to learn new things, and that’s the type of writing I usually read. Once in a while I will read a novel.

    I can’t say I’ve ever read anything with a writer’s eye. I mostly just read to absorb the story or the information. I’ve tried a couple of times to read articles to get an idea of how they’re written, or to pay attention to the editing, and I found it difficult. I guess I don’t know exactly “how” to do that.

    So I do find it interesting, and I’m open to any ideas. I just felt I really wouldn’t be much help in voting for a direction.

  4. Ok, I think I’ve got a couple of ideas of where we can go next! And we will get to a whole bunch of different aspects and approaches to writing in time, so even if one thing isn’t your particular cup of tea (I’m speaking broadly to all our readers here), I’m sure we’ll get back around to something that should be helpful. 🙂

    Thanks so much for weighing in!

  5. I think BOTH of your options for where to go next sound good and helpful, but I’m particularly excited about reading parts of a novel to dissect why it’s so good. Though, I’d like to participate in your second option, too.

    See? I’m very helpful 🙂

  6. I think I’m leaning more towards the novel idea myself – we’ll get to it all eventually, though, so no worries there. I just need to try to come up with a few options of what to read! But I do have a short article for next week, to hold us in the meantime. 🙂

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