free the pen, a blog for writers

February 3, 2014

Read to Write Better!

Filed under: writing techniques — freethepen @ 10:14 pm
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Jan Marquart Author (1)(1)Do you have a favorite author? How many books have you read by that author? There are many benefits to reading everything your favorite author has written:

1. you get to watch the writer grow in his/her craft,

2. you get to study how to become a better writer by reading the varieties of descriptions they use for similar scenes, and

3. you get a better understanding of the author’s writing life which can become quite comforting if judge your struggles as unique.

Having read all of Elizabeth Berg’s books, I have found her descriptions of similar scenes inspiring to continue to search for different perspectives on the same theme. Finding these gems in stories can widen your use of the craft. One of the things see describes in many of her books is: snow. Below is a list of four descriptions of snow she used in four of her books.

1. I could not locate my favorite description of snow to relay it to you verbatim, but I will paraphrase.

She describes snow as ‘communion wafers’.

2. In True to Form, p.29, she writes:

White snow covers tan

It looks to me like crumb cake

Nourishment for eyes.

3. In Open House, p. 169, she writes:

Snow is falling lazily, fat flakes that look like cut-up pieces of lace.

4. In The Pull of the Moon, p. 85, she writes:

I want one bedroom painted a blue leaning toward purple, and I want that room kept empty except

for the fill of light and the dust motes, drifting down like inside snow.

5. In Range of Motion, p. 89, she writes:

Winter and the snow falling in fat flakes, a silhouette before glass, fire.

So the next time you are enamored by an author, buy another one of his/her books and see what he/she can teach you about writing creatively. I promise you, descriptions will be interwoven in the story so pay attention. I am not a big proponent of writing in books but a pencil can always be erased and post-it notes are wonderful tags to quickly identify tips when you need them.

Read everything, write enough to keep the pen moving,

Jan, CEO and Founder of About the Author Network

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