Category Archives: Reading

Reading by example

The changing face of technology means that our kids don’t necessarily ‘see’ us read any more.

It’s National Literacy and Numeracy Week down here DownUnder, and in my real life incarnation I’ve been doing some Facebook prompting to encourage people to get involved, that literacy and numeracy exercises are not just for kids or students.

libraryAs we all well know children learn best and insidiously from example, our example. I’ve been reading quotes and studies about how fantastic it is for our kids to see us read, to realise that reading is done for enjoyment, not just news and education. And this goes for kids of any age. In particular it is great for boys to see their male role models reading for pleasure.

We read a lot in our house, however, Little Man actually probably doesn’t ‘see’ us read all that often. I mostly use my Kobo ereader, particularly as I’m into book 4 of Game of Thrones – and they are some heavy books! And BMan reads loads but has fallen in love with audio books. So it is not very often that the Little Man gets to see us with a book in hand.

So how does that go for influencing the future generations? I have no answer to be honest.

I’m not concerned for Little Man – he’s 5 so we read stories to him nightly and we have literally hundreds of books in the home and regularly visit the local library. We make it pretty clear that reading and story telling is a great past time.

However it’s something that may be telling as this techno generation get older.

Interesting.

WIP update – I’ve got my manuscript entered into Scrivener now, have categorised large slabs of it as Purgatory – in need of work prior to being released back into the manuscript proper. Now I’m embarking on reading the current manuscript, to refresh my memory, be proud of what I’ve done to date and to cringe and hide my head in shame at other points.

I am in love with…

Toni Jordan.

and my most recent favourite bit of advice, forget about the editing…for now.

I am currently taking part in her First Draft Post Mortem course with Writers Victoria and think it is just brilliant. It’s a four week course where we dissect our manuscripts and reassemble them (taking the postmortem metaphor way too far, we are becoming Mary Shelleys I guess, although hopefully creating something far less monstrous 🙂 )

I missed the first installment of this class when the family and I were jaunting about in New Zealand, I had considered flying back early to attend the class but the cost was just crazy. After attending the second class, I kinda wish I had.

One of the things Toni spoke about that stuck quite firmly in my mind is not to consider the editing process at all when writing your first draft. The first draft should be the draft of your heart, the one that you love/have to write. Don’t think about story arcs, about character development, about internal, interpersonal and physical conflict, about three or five acts, about the creation and resolution of tension. Just write the damn thing. If you spend your time rereading and editing and being concerned about producing the perfect saleable or publishable manuscript while you are creating it, you run the risk of removing all your freshness and creativity.

It was such a nice thing to realise, to release myself from the pressure of editing until the story is written.

the draft of your heart

The frightening thing I next realised ws how vastly different my finished manuscript will ultimately be to my first draft. It’s incredible to think I will practically rewrite this entire thing! Holy moly!

Another little snippet I found reassurring was when I highlighted the fact that as my story evolved the voices of the two narrators have become more and more similar and I suspected I would need to rewrite narrator 2 in close third person. Toni revealed that she writes first in first person and then rewrites into third person, that way she finds she understands the character better. The rewrite will be a big job, but I now feel approaching it from this perspective, that it doesn’t need to be polished just yet, it has freed me up to finish writing the draft, continue in first person but not worry about the distinctiveness of the voices quite so much.

But woah nelly is there some work ahead of me!

On the bright side it is just one week to my self designed mini writers retreat. Ok the writer isn’t mini, the retreat is, but you know what I mean 🙂

Any suggestions on how to structure my weekend? I intend to greatly increase my manuscript’s word count, but think I also need to have a few other writing exercises – maybe some flash fiction (perhaps something from the previous challenges set by the brilliant Chuck Wendig), maybe a little rewrite of the first person 2nd narrator into a third person – open to suggestions.

It’s research, no really!

Tonight I am bone tired from my late night writing session last night, so the fingers get a rest tonight, my characters are letting me have a rest. This means I get a chance to read instead.

Surely that counts as research?

A Ben10 story out of the way for the Little Man, and now to my reading.

Image from IMDB

I recently finished Exremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathon Safran Foer. There must be myriad reviews of this all over the net. I loved it, the author made some brave choices in his manuscript and its presentation, images, text running over the top of itself, pages with three words on them. But it all works, it is powerful and a fabulous example of modern day story telling.

Of course it’s also out at the cinema at the moment. ‘ll wait for the DVD release but I’m interested in seeing how well this unique novel translates to the screen.

I just received a pre-release copy of Wildby Cheryl Strayed, the voice of the Dear Sugar column. I’m not sure whether I should start this or wait till my plane takes off for New Zealand on Monday night, I need to make sure I have a couple of good holiday reads. Chery Strayed as sugar is shockingly honest, open and humbling. I’m looking forward to her new novel/memoir.

I also want to read something from Toni Jordan as I’ll be taking part in a writing course with her shortly.

But I’m more than open to more holiday read suggestions. I usually need something a bit light and escapist while on holiday. Any ideas?