Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tools of the Trade

I've been reading a lot lately. It's what I do when I get that itch to start a new book. I seek out new characters or sometimes I revisit old ones.
When I was in photography school they told me to flip through magazines or art books for
But now that I'm writing I read books. If I'm in need of mystery or suspense ideas I look to Harlan Coben. His book Tell No One was my first taste of mystery. Other than my collection of Nancy Drew or Encyclopedia Brown books I never really got into reading mystery. And even now I rarely find myself wandering over to that specific aisle in the bookstore. But Harlan has it down. He knows just when to throw you off and how to keep you turning the pages.

And when I need some lessons in love I go to Judith McNaught. No one writes romance like Judith. It's the chemistry between her characters that keeps me reading. By the end of the book these characters are so real to me they've become my friends. Sad but true. And then she'll go and write another book and throw some old friends in just for fun and there I am back at the bookstore buying them up. Good writing + good characters + crazy chemistry + friends that keep turning up = YAY!
My favorite book of Judith's (and I can't tell you how many times I have read it) is Perfect.
I don't know what it is about this book. I just keep coming back to it. (And BTW don't click on the photo. I couldn't find a single cover that didn't have that Amazon Look Inside thingy)

It is very important when you're writing a YA book that has a hint of mystery and some romance to know how to write a hint of mystery and some romance. Yeah. I know. Makes sense. And writing is kinda hard so I find that now and then (or every other day) I have to look to the masters to get some ideas.

In the last few weeks I've been reading new books. Books that have been recommended to me or books I've heard so much about I just had to check them out. I love new books. I love when I discover a new author and add him/her to my toolbox.

And since we are talking books and since this is the time of year when people start talking "Best of ..." I have to say that the best book I read this year (and I really hate saying the best because I love so many but this book really had an impact on me) is...

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

This book is good. If you haven't read it, please do.
I love when a book is so good I stop reading just to think. Think about the character and what she's doing, think about the plot and where it's going but mostly I think about the author and how she knew to put a few words together to create a sentence that would stop me in my tracks. And make me think. But mostly feel. Something.

So. Books help you write. And they're fun.


  1. Oh my gosh!! Perfect is MY favorite Judith McNaught book too!! And I also loved Tell No One! No wonder we're crit partners! ;-)

    ::goes to look for her copy of Perfect to reread...::

  2. I loved Revolution as well! It made me stop, think and then want to read it again straight away to figure out how she put everything together so perfectly.

  3. Carrie- Agreed! I am reading her first YA book, A Northern Light, right now. She's amazing!

  4. It's hard for me to separate out reading from writing. In a lot of ways, they're one in the same. I love books -- my interest in reading and writing is born from this.

    Thanks for the follow!