Friday, April 17, 2009

The Writer's Porch

“Read, read, read, Read everything—trash, classics, good and bad, and see they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the mast. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it's good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out the window.”-- William Faulkner (1897-1962 American Novelist.)

Without exception at every writers’ conference I have attended, the authors, editors and literary agents say, “Read, read, and read some more.” The bottom line is that a good writer must be a voracious reader.

Did I hear you ask why?

Because the more we read the more adept we become at deciphering the craft of writing. I agree with Faulkner in that we should read most every type of book. When we read something that is mundane and minimal it should help us to avoid the same pitfalls in our stories. Perhaps a book is trivial and trashy, those books display to us the pitfalls for us to avoid in our writing.

As you read, analyze the writing. Fortunately, most writers can’t stop themselves from critiquing any written work. We are just wired that way.

I attended the “Write for the Soul Conference” by Jerry Jenkins, the author of the Left Behind Series. I attended a workshop and the instructor asked, “How many of you have read the Da Vinci Code?”

There were over a hundred writers in the room, and no one dared to raise their hand that they had read the controversial book. The instructor looked around and said, “Shame on every one of you who haven’t read it. How will we know how to write great fiction if we don’t know what the public is reading? How can you respond to the controversy over the book if you haven’t even read it? Get off your high horses and read! Then you will become great writers.”

He was right. I went home, borrowed the book and read it. Although I disagreed with the theology, I loved the action. I couldn’t put the book down. I believe as writers we should not write good, but great. We have the Holy Spirit guiding us, but we still need to learn the craft. The best way to that is to read, read, read.

Because I feel so strongly on this fact of writing, I am going to blog once a week on books that I have read or am currently reading. (Also, you can check out my bookshelf on Facebook.) I would love to encourage you to share your thoughts on books that you loved or hated and why. Let’s chit chat about the craft of writing and books. So next week we shall begin Thursday—Book Corner. See you there!


sandy said...

Okay, I agree, so now I'm trying to talk myself into reading the DaVinci Code, if you say I should.

Looking forward to Thursday.....

sandy said...

Woops, forgot to ask how the novel is coming along?

Susanne Scheppmann said...

It coming slowly, very slowly. I am trying to learn an whole new craft of writing. Eek!

sandy said...

At least you are already an accomplished writer and are familiar with the writer's world. I'm a watercolor artist and sculptor! But the Lord said 'write this' so...........I'm trying.