Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Ways a Writer Reads a Book

by Lu Ann Staheli

Recently I attended a workshop with Newbery Honor author Kirby Larson (Hattie Big Sky). During her keynote address, she gave a list that I thought was worth sharing.
Keep a reader’s journal where you record your thoughts about the following for each book you read like a writer.

1. Did you connect with the book?

2. Who was the publisher?

3. Study the opening line. Does it hook you?

4. Does the book shock and intrigue you?

5. Does the title hint at the main problem?

6. Does the opening page at least hint at the main problem?

7. What is the story’s main problem?

8. Are there at least two plot lines in the book?

9. How is the story resolved?

10. Who resolves the problem?

As you study your responses, think about how your own writing would fare in someone else’s journal. Is there something you should be doing to make your story stronger and more marketable? Think about her list of questions as you write and revise.

And good luck with someday having a Newbery of your own!

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