Posts tagged ‘Reading (process)’

My Forever Books

I love books. I love to read. Since I can remember. I am an eclectic reader. I read different genres, pretty much anything that will hold my attention, from fiction to self-help, to finances, reference, anything and everything. After I read a book, it will either be put aside to be read again much later in the future, probably years, at least one more time. It will be donated or given away to someone, or kept for reference for some time. However, there are books that I loved so much the first time I read them, that I know for sure they will have a permanent place on my bookshelves. I will revisit them all my life. I call them my forever books. I would love to share some of these on this post.

Although the Bible, some of the classics, and (important for me) reference books will be permanently on my bookshelves, I am referring to the books that on that first reading, enchanted me somehow. Here are a few.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

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I wish I had kept the early copy when I read this one as a child.

 

Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

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The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

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The Grievers by Marc Schuster

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The Last Hunt by Cliff Burns

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The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway

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How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie

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The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

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Love the book, but much more because it is a gift from my sister.

 

These are just a few that will be forever on my bookshelf. I enjoyed them immensely. As you can see, they range in topic, genre, and time written. To me, reading is almost a religious experience, and I understand that every reader experiences and interprets a book in a very personal way, and therefore, a book can touch lives and entertain in countless ways. This is why reviews are not as important as we think they are. The same books that I love so much, another reader might dislike. I may love a book, but that doesn’t mean that I will like or enjoy other books from the same author in the same way. I might read them, and enjoy them very much, however, not necessarily give them a permanent spot, reserved only for those enchanting tomes.

As an author, I am in a different state of mind and “being” every time I write, so I think it would be unusual that I would write in the same way or with the same degree of inspiration all the time. To expect the same degree of inspirational awe from an author every time he/she publishes a book is like expecting coffee to taste the same all the time (I love coffee), and maybe that is why I’ve never understood traditional publishing. On the same note, as a reader, I approach a book with different intent at different stages in my life. It seems so as I mature. Life takes on another color, another flavor, and things evolve in importance. Although a story remains as it was written, another story lives and breathes in between the lines, waiting for the reader to find it and give it the meaning that is so unique and special to each person. That is why I am so careful with my opinion of a book, and any reviews are only my experience with, my view, my take, on a book that I enjoyed reading. My interpretation, that is ultimately influenced by the stage I am in life, and my surroundings, as well as all the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that accompany it. A good example is The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. I read it when I was around 10 years old, maybe earlier, and at that time I thought it was the most exciting adventure I had encounter in the pages of a book. I lived it, and I loved it. I read it again as an adult, and I got so much more out of the same story. The story in between the lines emerged.

I hope I have inspired you to give these books a try, if you haven’t done so already. On a future post, I will share some of my dearest collections that I treasure and will also keep on my bookshelves forever.

Developing Your Writing Style

English: Quill pen

English: Quill pen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I compare a writer’s style to her/his fingerprint, a unique signature style that develops over time. If you have a favorite author, then you probably know that author’s style; it permeates the work of the author as a scent picked up by the reader. The author has embedded in the story not only his soul but also his creativity, and in a way that reflects a distinctive writing personality, the writer’s style. Even when the work has gone through several rounds of editing and re-writing, the author’s style remains, embracing the story.

I think that every writer sets out to tell a story, maybe influenced by his/her favorite author, genre, but in time that writer finds his own voice and style. It shines through inevitably, and the writer chooses to develop it or ignore it. In the latest, the writer would be forcing someone else’s style into his work, preventing the free flow of the story, and his growth as a writer. No one can be the next Stephen King or Dan Brown, for example. You might admire their styles, and decide that you want to write in their specific genres, but eventually, you will need to embrace your own style. How do you develop your writing style? How do you facilitate the process?

I think that there are four ways to do this, and all four relate to one another and take time. To develop a writing style you will have to:

  1. Read – Read as much as you can, and in every genre. Read the good, the bad, and the ugly. The more you read, the more you learn the do’s and don’ts, but also you train your brain to pick up on many other things between the lines. Research falls into the read category, so research what you must. It is not possible to become an author if you do not like to read. It is like trying to make a cat lay eggs (imagine that disaster).
  2. Write – It may seem so simple, but to develop your writing style you will have to do tons/miles of writing. It is that hard and that simple. The more you write, the more you attune your brain (and soul) into developing your unique voice. Compare it to cooking or riding a bike for the first time, and the difference that practice makes.
  3. Listen – Listen to the flow of the story but also to your characters. Many times, characters know best. Sometimes, forcing the story will end up confusing/erasing your characters. Imagine going into another dimension while trying to stay in the present at the same time; there is conflict, and eventually, something is got to give. Listen to your characters and compromise. For example, when I set to write my first novel (Moonlit Valley), one of the main characters was imagined as being a bit nerdy, second to the female character, and a complete opposite to the character that emerged when I began to write. This character fought me from the start, to the point that I was forcing my writing. In the end, I let him be and Jeremy Sandbeck emerged. After that, it was easy to write him.
  4. Trust your instinct/go with your gut – In other words, listen to your Healthy Inner Voice. This is the voice that looks after you and cheers you up – the one that “feels just right.” At the same time beware of the Inner Critic – that is the archenemy of your Healthy Inner Voice, and it doesn’t feel good; it puts you down. Learn to discern them; balance the first, and ignore the second.

I honestly think that this is the best way to develop your writing style, and it is a writer’s journey.

Taken Over – The Book of Sharon

As I might have mentioned before, now I am writing Book 2 of The Dinorah Chronicles – The Book of Sharon.  I have to say that the approach to this book has taken me on a different journey, one that I did not plan but simply followed.  Most of the time I don’t follow an outline, if an outline happens, it does while I am writing and for “memory” reasons, so I don’t forget and keep things in perspective, and don’t forget important issues that should be resolved throughout the novel.  Must likely, I don’t necessarily know how the story is going to end, although I may have a faint idea.  Sometimes, I think of something but it happens that a character has a better idea, and I follow – I let go.  Must of the time, I find that this approach lets everything fall into place and all ties come together in the end.  This is what happened with Ramblings of the Spirit (Book 1) – it set the path for The Book of Sharon.

This presents a challenge for me, as I am writing the story that I want to write, however this time, the story contains the book of the main character, which is also the contents of an ancient book.  It is a book inside a book inside a book – I hope you understood that.  It is a more complicated way of writing but I am up to the challenge thanks to Dinorah Sandbeck, the main character.  Of course, I am excited about writing it, but also on beating the deadline of publishing before the end of the year, and ideally, by the end of summer/beginning of fall.  It is a tight deadline, thanks to Dinorah Sandbeck.  This of course, presents another challenge, not only will I have to write in my voice, but in Dinorah’s writing voice, and in the ancient tome’s style as well.  No wonder why I have gone through so many cups of coffee during the day.  I am honestly feeling the pressure from these two characters – yes, the ancient tome became a character in Ramblings of the Spirit, although it was introduced in Moonlit Valley – my first novel and the story who gave birth to The Dinorah Chronicles.

So this is what is going on with the second book in The Dinorah Chronicles trilogy, and this is why you see the counter at the upper right corner of this blog, as a constant reminder of the contract that I have with my characters, with the readers, and with myself.  I have worked on the design of the cover as well, although it is not ready yet.

If you are unfamiliar with Moonlit Valley and Ramblings of the Spirit, these are available through Amazon, and you can even preview a bit.  I am also doing a promotion this month for a free kindle download of Ramblings of the Spirit.  And if you want the chance of winning a free paperback of Ramblings of the Spirit, you can like my Facebook page by clicking the button at the right on this page.  You will be entered for a chance to win one of three copies.  The winners will be announced on May 20th.

Since time is ticking and I am not even halfway my story, or Dinorah’s, or the Tome’s, I will try to limit blog posts to two or three a week, most likely two, at least until I have a handle on the first and second drafts.  For the next few months I will be immersed in this novel, much so as a monk writing a doomsday book.  It will be an interesting journey.

Writing the Domesday Book

Writing the Domesday Book (Photo credit: Wikipedia)