Looking closely at words

I was interviewed by Vanessa Carnevale early this morning for her Your Creative Life podcast series, and one of the questions she asked was something like this: How did your reviewing experience help you as a writer?

I love that question! Fortunately, it wasn’t too hard to answer it, because I wrote about this very thing for my piece in Serenity Press’s upcoming Writing the Dream anthology.

For those who don’t know, I review books on my other site, Write Note Reviews. I set up this site in 2011: “It seemed like a no-brainer; the perfect way to combine reading and writing … and get free books.” (Writing the Dream).

Here’s an excerpt from my piece, which answers Vanessa’s question:

“My eclectic reading history forms an intensive research base which influences what and how I write. But here’s the thing I’ve noticed: the more I write, the more my approach to reading is changing. It’s no longer only about the story, about sinking into the couch and transporting myself to another world, another life (although that is still part of the experience). Narrative techniques and plot structure were assessed informally as part of my reviewing role, but now that evaluation has stepped up a notch. When I read, I’m observing technique, dialogue, structure, point of view and language from an even more analytical aspect. How well did the writer do this or that? Did this narrative style work? How would I have done this differently? I’m reading as a student of words, not simply an absorber of words.”

In essence, it means that I’m looking closer when I read … and when I write.

I’m at the tail end of Wherever You Go now. 95,000 words! I can’t wait to type ‘The End’. But as all writers know, it’s really just the beginning of the next step in the journey. Step 2 will be to look closely at my manuscript, and make it better.

Here are some pics I took in Tasmania that highlight the ‘looking closely idea’ – amazing what a macro lens can do.

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Rainforest moss

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Snow melting on a daffodil

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Loved this bokeh effect behind the snow on a flower bud.

PS. Writing the Dream is out November 18, and available for pre-order at the Serenity Press website.