Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Reading-Writing Connnection

We spend a lot of time on our blog with one common topic at the heart of our mission: Reading and researching picture books.  But why? Every year, during the challenge month of March, we receive a common question from at least one of our new participants:

"How (or when) will all this reading help my writing?"
While I have my own response, I'm also calling in my partner, Kirsti Call, and our ReFoReMo blog contributors on this one. Let's see if you pick up on a common theme or mention in our quotes:

"For one who writes, a picture book takes you on a journey that goes beyond what the 4-8 year old reader experiences. The child reader is on a journey, experiencing something for the first time or reliving something they already know through the characters. While we bring our own set of experiences to the story, too, our brains are also wired for the inner workings of the book. The craft in each book unfolds before us and we analyze: How did the author build tension? What made me want to turn the page? How did they infuse humor, heart, or themselves into the book? What made me connect? What delighted my tongue? Inquiry takes over and we return to our stories knowing how others masterfully manage words and ideas. We take notes. We learn what works and what doesn't. Then, we write, letting our own passion and ideas lead the way."
-Carrie Charley Brown

"For me, reading informs everything that I do and think and feel. Reading infuses my mind with ideas and images and thoughts. Reading helps me understand what makes a good book. If I think about what I like most about my favorite books, I incorporate those qualities into my manuscripts. The more good books I read, the easier it is to write a good book!"
-Kirsti Call

"When you fill yourself up with reading, the pace, rhythm, humor, voice and heart of the picture book stories seep into your bones. The more you read, the better you write."
-Janie Reinart

"Reading what's new in the market helps writers stay abreast of what's getting published. Keep in mind when subbing to agents and editors, they often ask for comparable titles. Although the books out today were acquired two or three or more years ago, writers pay attention to word count, story structure, and what topics, characters and themes are popular in published work. Is your story strong enough or different enough to compete with all the others?"
-Keila Dawson

What common threads did you notice? We would love to hear your response to the same question! 



12 comments:

  1. I agree with you all! I read for all of those reasons in order to make my writing better.

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    1. Hooray, Kathy! Glad to have a reading spirit partner!

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  2. I think of reading as being the fuel for good writing. Without gas in a car, we go nowhere. Without good food for our bodies, we don't grow or go very well. Without reading, our writing will suffer, perhaps even die. What we put in us, usually finds its way out of us in time. Reading well crafted stories will help bring out the writing in all of us. ReFoReMo is a great place to "Filler-up!"

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    1. Yes! Fuel for good writing is a great way to put it, Karen! :)

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  3. Reading picture books internalizes the rhythms and structures of story, even if we are not analyizing and studying. Reading enough (is there ever enough???) picture books gets our minds in the right set and frame to dive into that world and create using our own words and ideas. And reading picture books is FUN.

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    1. No, Angie, there is NEVER enough! :) Picture books are my choice reads over all other forms and genres. :)

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  4. I agree with Angie's comment! Not only is it delightful to "have to" read picture books, but it really helps teach the language and rhythms of the picture book form.

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  5. My thoughts are that it helps me find similar themes and shows me different structures to telling a story. Rewrites of old tales in new ways help me reimagine ideas. And when I really like a book it takes some time to determine why and incorporate that in my manuscripts. I love reading the newest books and seeing what themes or ideas are published now.

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    1. I love playing with structures, too, Sheri! Thanks for chiming in!

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  6. The more I read the more I understand picture books. I can't get enough because I hope that the good qualities I admire will become part of me, part of my works in progress.

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