Reading List


Even as I wrapped up draft 3 of Julia, I was already looking at what needed strengthening in draft 4. I decided this called for more research. Not the detail-important research like learning why planes crash or going through the steps of getting a will, but the how-the-whole-thing-comes-together research. This means reading!

I bugged friends, found bibliographies of authors who I’d heard wrote similar stories, and scoured my memory for books I’d read that were similar in tone and theme. How did I want to deal with a sibling…there’s a book for that. How do I keep the pace…there’s a book for that.

I thought I’d tear through these books, soak up the knowledge and be on my merry drafting way.

Sadly, no. I did tear through the first book on my list. But I abandoned my second and stalled on the third. I was approaching this a little too much like school and my brain was rebelling. After a week away, I was able to get back into book three. I’m thinking of taking a break and going with something completely off-list before going back to book two.

Do you read for specific writing tips/help? Do you ever struggle with it?


9 thoughts on “Reading List

  1. It’s one of those things where its different for everyone. From draft to draft you have sit down and ask yourself, “What’s working and what’s not?” Then ask a couple readers the same question. When you know the strengths and weaknesses (and you’re willing to accept the cold hard truth) then the final draft has a chance to emerge. 🙂

  2. a lot of times I’ll just look for stuff that’s thematically similar, but not too similar factually. For instance, if I’m writing about a painter in the present I might read a book about a filmmaker in the 1930s. Both are artists, and might have similar experiences, but the dissonance between the two allows for room on my part to invent. I’m not sure if this makes a lot of sense, but I hope it helps.

  3. If you are thinking that you need a break, it’s probably your brain hinting that you need one. It’s so easy to get too involved in research/projects and find the need to step back a little bit.

    Before the first draft, I think I find and read similar books to inspire and motivate my project. Then I focus on the project, using the book ideas “subconsciously” instead of directly so I don’t catch myself comparing other people’s work to mine because that can be daunting.

    I don’t know if it’s an option but sometime the answer for the type of research you’re looking into is from showing other authors your work and getting some suggestions that could inspire you to move forward in your project.

    Good luck to you as you progress on your next draft. Thanks for the post!

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