This year I've made a point to set aside time each day to read for fun. With school it isn't always easy, but I've found it really beneficial. Not only am I finally getting through the massive pile of books beside my bed, but I've been picking up tips I can apply to my own writing.
- I've learned a lot about characterization from reading Stephanie Perkins' ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS, which I may or may not go back to from time to time because I adore it so much. It's so important to be able to relate to a book's main character, and Anna is perfect. Not only that, St.Clair and the other supporting characters are fully fleshed out. I've tried to take note of how they all relate and interact with each other, and apply that to my own writing.
- JANE EYRE offers a plethora of great descriptions. I'm a sucker for longwinded, detailed descriptions of people and places, and Charlotte Bronte is a genius when it comes to setting. I've been using a notecard as a bookmark, and occasionally jot down words or phrases I particularly like. Those have all come in handy when editing my own manuscript; I've discovered a new way to vary words, and I think it's definitely made my own writing stronger.
- THE HUNGER GAMES is the best example I can think of when it comes to conflict. It's everywhere, from the plot to the characters' relationships. The stories are tight and constantly moving forward; there isn't anything extra. I've been able to cut chapters from my own work and write new ones that are more than just filler. Honestly, filling only belongs in delicious pastries, not books.
I could give you a hundred more examples, but you might hate me if I did. But I urge you guys to pay close attention to the things you're reading. No matter what, I can guarantee you'll learn something. Great books are great learning tools, and books you dislike will teach you how to do things better. Either way, you can't lose.
Here are the books I've yet to read (I told myself I couldn't buy any new books until these were all read):
WUTHERING HEIGHTS by Emily Bronte
THE MOCKINGBIRDS by Daisy Whitney
CRESCENDO by Becca Fitzpatrick
XVI by Julia Karr
THE AGENCY by Y.S. Lee
ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by Beth Revis
THE CHEESE MONKEYS by Chip Kidd
INCARCERON by Catherine Fisher
TWENTY BOY SUMMER by Sarah Ockler
EVERCROSSED by Elizabeth Chandler
BITCH IS THE NEW BLACK by Helena Andrews
What do your TBR piles look like right now?