One Writer’s Journey

March 11, 2015

Reading like a writer

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:42 am
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IReading like a writert you want to write for children you need to do more than write.  You need to read.  But more than that, you need to read ilke a writer.

Read in your market

If you want to write nonfiction picture books, read nonfiction picture books.  If your goal is to write YA romance, read YA romance.  You need to read so that you know what is being published today.  Why?  Many of us start writing with our favorite childhood books in mind.  For me, that’s Marguerite Henry, Little House on the Prairie and The Meg Mysteries.  While there isn’t anything wrong with these books, they aren’t what editors are buying NOW.  You want to sell in today’s market, not the market of 1980.

Read for events

In a few weeks, I’ll be at the Missouri SCBWI writing retreat with Roaring Brooks Kate Jacobs.  Before I work with an editor, even at a retreat, I want to know what she does.  I can read a list of books that she’s worked on but it makes a lot more sense to read the books themselves.  On my desk right now are The Graham Cracker Plot by Shelley Tougas and Yasmine Surovec’s I See Kitty.  Neither one of them is identical to what I’ll be workshoping but they gave me a feel for the voice and attitude she Jacobs likes in a book.

Read editors and agents

Much like reading for an event, you should also do your reading before you decide to submit to an editor or agent.  If you read four books by an agent and none of them click, move on to the next agent on your list.  I’m also looking at prospective agents so there’s a stack of books on my desk that relate to that.

Read for research and classes

This week, I wrote a biology piece on zebras.  This meant that I was reading news feed articles as well as science journals all on zebras.  Next week, I’m be reading about civil rights and integration.  All of this has to do with various projects.  I’m also taking a MOMA class on inquiry based learning.  Most of the online courses that I’ve taken have relied largely on video lectures.  This one also requires weekly reading composed of blog posts, text book chapters and articles.

That’s what I’ve been reading as a writer.  There’s also always something that I’m reading for fun.  Right now for me its a Barbara Kingsolver novel, Flight Behavior. 

What are you reading?



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