Happy Wednesday, everyone!! It’s the first day of December and the first day of an experiment in writing for me. Now, once you hear my little plan, you may actually think this is an experiment in reading, but I promise you it’s not. (Of course, if the experiment doesn’t work, I claim the right to retract this statement…)
A while back I posted a list of Inspirational Quotes from Writers (mmmm….s’mores….). There was one by William Faulkner that really struck me: “Read, read, read. Read everything – trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the most. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out the window.”
Now, I know we’ve all heard this before – to be a good writer, you must read, read, read! Oh, yeah – and read some more.
Confession time? I’ve never really taken this to heart. Don’t get me wrong! I read. Of course I do! But, have I ever read, say 10 novels in a month? Well….ummm….no. *sees jaws dropping* (I know, I know…but please keep reading. You can throw stuff at me later…)
So, here’s what I’m going to do. I’m declaring December NEED TO READ MORE month!! Or NeToReMo!! (Pronounced in my head as “neat-oh ream-oh”, so say that out loud with me, thumbs up and in a slightly high-pitched voice – it’s fun!!)
Anyhow, here’s what I’m going to do. The obvious – read. A lot. A ton! More than I’ve EVER read in one month EVER! And if Faulkner knew anything, I’m also going to absorb it all in. The good, the bad – all of it.
I’m going to abstain from writing my novel. *more jaws dropping* At least until Jan. 1st. I may make special exceptions when something I’ve read touches/inspires me so much that holding in my own ideas about my novel may literally kill me and I just have to get it out. But December is all about the absorption!
Here’s my list of books to tackle:
Going Bovine – Libba Bray
Demon’s Lexicon – Sarah Rees Brennan
Fire – Kristin Cashore
If I Stay – Gayle Forman
Princess of the Midnight Ball – Jessica Day George
Into the Wild Nerd Yonder – Julie Halpern
The Reformed Vampire Support Group – Catherine Jinks
The Forest of Hands & Teeth – Carrie Ryan
Lament, and Shiver – Maggie Stiefvater
Leviathan – Scott Westerfeld
Ash – Malinda Lo
Beautiful Creatures – Kami Garcia
The Ever After – Amy Huntley
But, I’m not just going to read these. That’s the easy part. I went to a Writer’s conference a few years back and part of their particular plan to make you a better writer was to have you copy, by hand, a very long passage of words and paragraphs from well respected stories, over and over and over again. Now, I’m not necessarily a proponent of this method, BUT I think it holds some merit. I’m going to challenge myself to write down things that really pop out at me as I read. Great metaphors, snappy dialogue, quirky/unique characterization. I’m going to try to pick out the inciting incidents. Make my choice for the overall best first line! Stuff like that.
Ok. Admittedly. Most of this is nothing new. No advice here you haven’t heard before. But, I’m challenging you anyhow! Anyone who would like to join me in NeToReMo this month, here’s what you’ve gotta do:
1. Read 50,000 words in ONE month!! (What’s that? OH! That’s only challenging if you WRITE 50,000 words in 1 month? My bad….) Let’s up that to: 650,000 words in 1 month. A nice round #
2. No your-own-novel writing! (Unless absolutely necessary…)
3. Jot down the best bits. (as mentioned above: metaphors, similes, dialogue, characterization, description, climax, inciting incidents, etc)
4. Make your picks for the best first line. (There can only be one winner!)
5. Post all about the experience on January 1st. (Oh, and write, write, write on this date. WRITE like you mean it!)
My expectation is that, by the end of the month, I’ll be so full of the written word that I will spew forth some fabulous ones of my own! It will be all about writing, revision and querying at the start of 2011. But, to end my 2010 with a bang, baNG, BANG!! I’m reading my way through the Holidays. Care to join?
*special note on #1 – to get to those 650,000 words, this might be an excellent time to get to all those beta-reads or critique your CP projects. Just a thought… I listed books, but I never said they had to be published ones! :)
Oh, and don’t forget to enter my GIVEAWAY! Ends midnight, Dec. 4th…