Monday, June 3, 2013

Reviewing to Improve Your Writing

I don't know about you, but I am constantly juggling one or more books in-between writing and marketing.

I'm currently reading, Memory Lake, by Nancy S. Kyme, and am (so far) enjoying it. It's just the book I need during the frantic-ness of moving. I couldn't have chosen a better summer read.

That said, I am also going to be reviewing this book. I have a Christian non-fiction book in the rafters as well as another book that's coming.

Suffice it to say that I love reading, not only for the escapism or even the opportunity to grow and become a better person, I love what I learn from other authors. I especially appreciate their strengths, where, frankly, I have weaknesses. And I love the idea of learning from them.

For example, I may always struggle with setting, but reading authors like Kyme, I learn how someone else has done it.

Photo by: IllinoisHorseSoldier, courtesy of Flickr
Through the years I have learned to slow down and to enjoy every moment of writing. I try not to hurry through scenes and skip parts so that I "can just get to the good part." If a book is written well, every part "is a good part" and needs to be described in vivid detail.

A scene at the ocean can be memorable. It's not enough that the main character "went there," more important is how she felt and what she learned and what she saw when she was there.

Photo by: J_O_I_D, courtesy of Flickr
Reviewing is a step above reading. Sure, I can read for total enjoyment, but with reviewing, the joy is still there, while, at the same time, my left brain is also blinking. If the sentence is choppy, or the direction of the book, uninteresting, or I feel as if I'm "lost" I make a note of it on a sticky note and place it on the page where I noticed it. After I've finished the book I go back to these sticky notes and write my review.

Something happens to my brain as I do this: sort of a sticky note inside telling me that not every writer writes perfectly, and that there is always room for some improvement; if only a little.

And that's what I'm counting on.


  1. That was really interesting, Kathryn, as always. You're right, we all need to keep striving to improve our work.

  2. do you charge for reviewing books?

  3. No I don't. I think it's important for reviews to be honest and having to pay for one has really never suited me. Thanks for asking.


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