Reading to be a Better Writer

Love scenes can either be done wonderfully or horribly with a lot of mediocre in between.  I read The Twilight Before Christmas by Christina Feehan last night and was enthralled with the book.  I could not put the book down.  Feehan’s love scenes were sensual, enthralling, and steamy. 

She included words I would not have thought would be good in a love scene but they completely work in hers.  I’ll be studying her scenes.  The entire book kept me enthralled for the whole night.  Her pacing was non-stop, she went from one crisis to another without giving the reader a chance to catch their breath – in the best possible way.  Her women are strong, feminine, and sexy.  Her men are strong, respectful, loving and sexy.  It is the perfect combination. 

As a reader, I enjoyed reading the book and can’t wait to start the next one in the series.  As a writer, her writing excites me and I am going to study her techniques. 

One of the things I heard in most of my classes was to find an author who writes in the genre you want to write in and study their work.  Mostly they were talking about classical writers like Mark Twain and other people most non-writers don’t like to read.  In rediscovering my love of the reading, I’m finding myself inspired by the stories but even more by the techniques I’m finding in the books that keep me riveted. 

Even though I’m enthralled in the story, in the back of my mind my writer persona is taking notes.  I find myself occasionally saying – oohh I like how this worked or I like the way this was said or I like how this phrase was turned.  In describing the heat of the moment, instead of saying something spread like wild fire the author used a different term (can’t think of it right now off the top of my head) and it worked so much better.  It took away the cliche of the phrase we all know but got the same results of the cliched phrase.

My first novel is a culmination of ten years of writing, getting a story down on and developing characters, plot, and technique.  As I read it now, I see some things I have changed in how I write; I also see some really good techniques. 

I’ve had writers tell me how to write.  I take in their advise but know for me in the rough draft I can’t do it that way (at least not right now).  I can incorporate some of the ideas in my editing process.  I know I’m evolving as a writer and in another ten years I’ll probably look at my first books and see things I’d do differently.  It is sort of like hair styles of old pictures – we look back and sometimes think – what were we thinking, and other times – that was good I should do it again.