Reading As A Writer


Next time you read a book, pay attention to the following:


Whose point of view is presented? One character? Many? Omniscient narrator?

Does the author change vocabulary when attention is on different characters?

Notice if and how the author “shows” rather than “tells.”

Note use of sensory data.

How does the author handle situations you’d find difficult?

Does the author give clues to the ending?

Notice the rhythm of the prose.

Notice how the characters change from scene to scene.

Notice how the author handles the passage of time.



• Does the book explore new territory; if not, how does it  compare to others on the topic?

• Does it accomplish what it sets out to?

• Is there a compelling reason that people need this information?

•  Is the information accurate? If not, how do you know?

• Does the book convey any message/values/politics/philosophy?

• Does the book present a fresh perspective?

• Does it put a new spin on an old situation?

• Does it move you to see the world in a way you hadn’t before?

• Did you learn something new?

• Was it well written? Did it paint a vivid image? Could you feel it with your senses?

• What about the rhythm of the language? Did the prose feel like poetry?


Suggested Exercises

Write a synopsis of the book.

Write what you liked / didnt like about it.

What still stands out days after you’ve read the book? Weeks later?

Can you figure out why (with regard to the above)?

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