I participated in the “All the World’s a Page” Shakespeare-themed reading challenge and learned four writing concepts I can apply to my own stories.
BAND OF BROTHERS. Read a book with an ensemble cast.
I read The Faulkes Chronicles by David Huddle. I learned that a plural first person narrator works if you treat the collective “we” as a real character with a backstory and goals and obstacles. A “we” character in one of my stories would probably be a school of piranhas with genetically enhanced ESP abilities, but I digress.
THE FOOL WITH ALL THE WISDOM. Take a chance on a book you’re unsure about.
I read The Weight of Their Souls , a sword-and-sorcery novella by Deby Fredericks. By delving into a genre I was unsure about, I learned that the disguise a character chooses to wear is a clever way for the author to portray the inner workings of that character.
EVEN INSTALOVE SOUNDS BEAUTIFUL WHEN YOU WRITE IT, WILL. Read a book with pretty writing.
I read The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. The story did not hold my attention. It was so confusing the way it jumped around. I learned that if the prose is beautiful (and Roy’s truly is), the reader will still want to read at least a little more. I also learned that the reader needs clear clues whenever the story jumps to another timeline.
DEFINITELY NOT SET IN ENGLAND, I PROMISE. Read a book set in a country you don’t live in.
I read Miracle Girl by Sisovethu Ndubela. I learned that the tiniest details of a setting make it feel real, like you’re right there. For example, Ndubela describes more than the streets or the weather in New Brighton, South Africa. She drops details like what the spiritual significance is when someone in her neighborhood encounters a bee. (I mean, you can’t know that just by looking at online photos of her city.)
What I’m reading now: The talented Loren Rhoads’ life-celebrating collection of death-positive essays, This Morbid Life. Rhoads’ collection was released TODAY.:-) Congratulations to Rhoads!
Olivia-Savannah’s YT announcement of the annual August Shakespeare-themed reading challenge.
Feature image of Shakespeare’s Ophelia by Cynthia Smith on Unsplash.