Reading Books, Writing Books

by Sabina I. Rascol
Published on: July 2, 2013
Categories: Basics, Inspiration
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Comments: 1 Comment

open bookI love how my reading informs my writing and my writer’s mind. Here are several recent reads—novels, as well as books about writing—and the writerly issues they led me to think about.

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-[A sequel to a novel I had moderately enjoyed; the sequel, I couldn’t be bothered to finish]
MOTIVATION
I felt several characters’ motivations were not clear or well supported. The main character did strong things without her motivation for them having been built up. An important supporting character only intermittently seemed to remember—and act on—one of her driving motivations. A minor character belied a motivation the author suggested for her.

Note to self: Make sure my characters’ motivations are clear, sensical, convincing, supported.

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-Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook, Chapter 16, “Weaving a Story”, by Donald Maass
-Starters, by Lissa Price (illustration of the principle)
CONNECTIONS (and SURPRISES)
Connections between seemingly unrelated aspects of a story (characters, locations), weave it together more tightly.

Sabina’s corollary: Unexpected connections that make sense can result in satisfying surprises (as in The Thief, by Megan Whalen Turner)

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-Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook, Chapter 13, “Public Stakes”, by Donald Maass
MAKING THINGS WORSE (ESCALATING)
We all know this principle. Yet reading it here clicked for me, leading me to a new way of thinking about the organization of my novel.

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-The Mind of Your Story, by Lisa Lenard-Cook
CHRONOLOGY (BEGINNINGS, PACING)
Lenard-Cook has some interesting thoughts about chronology that I’m just dipping into. These are supported by cool graphs, which we Scrivas tend to like (see Chapter 10, “The Mind of Your Story”). I’m not sure if I agree with everything said, but the glimpse of her ideas about chronology is making me think hard about where exactly my novel starts and how it unwinds. As a student of Lenard-Cook’s said about story: “It starts here because it’s about this.”

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So what are you reading these days, and how does it inform your writing?

-Sabina I. Rascol
www.sabinairascol.com

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  1. this post is quoted by Happy In(ter)dependence Day! « Viva Scriva says:

    […] description, point of view—you name it—all in supportive equipoise. You get the picture. Sabina’s latest post has more to say on the […]

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