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P.O Box 2171
Santa Clara, CA 95055

Alicia Rayn, paranormal romance and urban fantasy author


Why Writers Should Read... A Case Study

Alicia Ryan

Writers Should Read. And Read. And Read Some More. Everyone knows this. Everyone says this. Not everyone does it. And even those of us with the best of intentions can get bogged down with the 'important' things, like writing our own books.

I've signed up to take a writing class taught by Jonathan Maberry, a prolific (and hugely successful) writer across numerous genres, but probably most known for horror/thrillers - and the course I'm taking is on thriller writing, so I decided to pick up the first book in his Joe Ledger series - Patient Zero (described by one reviewer as "24 with zombies"). 

Now this isn't the kind of thing I would normally read. And that's the point of this post. READ GOOD BOOKS - no matter the genre. YOU WILL LEARN FROM THEM.

I'm only a few chapters in and already he's given me a wonderful metaphor - "He had a head like a bucket." It's not wildly literary, but as I was listening to it in my car, I could see the guy immediately. Imagery + economy of words = mad skills.

Just a chapter later, the interrogation is a perfect example of how much more interesting a dialogue-heavy scene is when the characters are also doing something - in this case, eating cookies. Yep, cookies. 

I think (and have been told) that I write good, snappy, interesting dialogue, but I just learned a way to make many of my scenes more engaging. Cookies.

I will caveat this by saying that you should also never stop reading craft books. Or you might not notice how well the cookies work as a device to increase interest in a scene where its just two people talking, and a lot of it is exposition.

I've already learned enough to consider the purchase of Patient Zero worth the money, but I will definitely continue reading. And perhaps the rest of the book will be the subject of another post.

Thank you, Mr. Maberry. I'm looking forward to your class.

-Alicia Rayn