August’s Shakespeare-Themed Reading Challenge: What Bill Taught Me

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 multiple points of view or 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.

55 thoughts on “August’s Shakespeare-Themed Reading Challenge: What Bill Taught Me

  1. What a great way to broaden your reading and step into genres you wouldn’t otherwise read. We all get stuck in a certain type of fiction, and even though it might not feel like a rut, it probably is. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. It was a fun and productive tangent, but I’m back to reading my normal stuff now. I’m reading Brian Moreland’s Savage Island (tropical horrors!) and Loren Rhoad’s This Morbid Life (raw, wonderful). I hope you have a fab week, Brian.:-)

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  2. It seems that the strategy worked well for you, and I’m intrigued by your comments, especially by your first read. I’m going to check it out. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Priscilla.

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  3. Amazing. I loved what you learned and what you shared. I didn’t do the challenge but reading your lessons learned, I realize they apply to a couple of the books I have recently read. Except I never quite looked at from the perspective you did because of this challenge. Thanks for once again opening my eyes by sharing your view of the world and written word like you do!

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    1. Thanks for your kind words, Courtney.:-) I learn a lot from your blog, too. Mostly things that blow my mind and make me realize how much we DON’T know about our world, the afterlife, and the universe.

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  4. The learning you have experienced through reading these books is amazing, Priscilla. This is the exact reason I read all sorts of different books from classics to Indies’ to poetry, to children’s books. You learn a lot from them. A great post, thank you.

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  5. How interesting, Priscilla. I like how you approached each book as having something to teach. I’m sorry that God of Small Things didn’t hold your attention (the only one of these that I’ve read). But I understand your point too. I’m a sucker for beautiful language and will love a book simply for the author’s word choices. The pull me right in. An interesting thing to realize about myself. Lol. Great post.

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