Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Writing 101


Many years ago I took a writing class at the local community junior college. The title of the class was How to Write a Romance. That class started me on this wonderful journey. when I stepped in to that class some sixteen years ago, I had only a love of books and a basic knowledge of English. Oh, don't get me wrong, I did well in elementary and high school, I just didn't retain anything I learned. I still have trouble with grammar, but have slowly learned where to put a comma and what a fragment sentence is (which by the way I use frequently). But there is so much more to writing fiction than knowing how to put a sentence together. Story structure, plot and character development are crucial. There are so many great references, books, workshops and speakers that I could spend all day directing you to, but for me the biggest help in learning how to tell a story was by reading. Reading everything I could get my hands, in all different genres and by as many varied authors as possible. I would study each book, looking for the elements that made the story compelling. I still read voriciously and study the books, noting what works and what doesn't. I read many different types of books from romance, romantic suspense, sci-fi, horror, crime dramas, thrillers, inspirationals, paranormal and mysteries. I read from all the different categories of Harlequin books. Right now I have three books going. I always keep on in my car, LONG LOST by Harlan Coben. I keep one on my bedside table, THE MERCEDES COFFIN by Faye Kellerman and I keep a book in the living room, TO THE EDGE by Cindy Gerard. As I finish one, I trade it out for something else. I have a to be read pile that fills three full shelves in my office bookcase. The reason I titled this post Writing 101, is to be a good writer, you must be a well read reader!

"I cannot live without books." Thomas Jefferson

7 comments:

Lynette Eason said...

Very true, Terri! In fact, I get so starved for the opportunity to just sit down and read a good book sometimes that I just can't stand it!! Even when I have a pressing deadline, I still have to squeeze in a good read every once in a while.

PamelaTracy said...

I've had Harlan on my radar for awhile. Which book is his best? Hmm, I've never bought Faye because I read John and kinda thought of her the way I think of Mary Higgens Clark's daughter, a oops I purchased the wrong book kind of feeling. I've read Cindy.

PamelaTracy said...

I have three books going, too. I have LIS Marked for Murder. Then, I'm reading Angel's Peak by Robin Carr. Plus, I'm still stuck halfway through the second Twilight book.

Terri Reed said...

Pam, I read both Faye and John. Their styles are different. I like Faye's main character and his family. Plus she really has a knack for making me guess the outcome.
Harlan's best book...hmmm. I've enjoyed them all. The one I guess I remember the most is In the Woods.

Debby Giusti said...

Three books at one time!!! Oh, my gosh! I read one at a time. And I only--for some strange reason--give myself permission to read fiction at the end of the day, when I crawl into bed.

I LOVE Harlan Coben. Pam, TELL NO ONE is my all-time fav. That was his big breakout novel. A 4M contract, but I believe that was for two or three books. Still, not bad, eh? I tried his earlier sports agent stories and couldn't get into them, but once he hit the big time, I've loved everything he's published.

I'm reading Sarah's Key...WWII France. Gripping and tragic.

Debby Giusti said...

I've read John Kellerman, but not Faye.

Dinah Menil said...
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