Thursday, October 15, 2009

Reading Fun

I've been having a huge amount of reading fun thanks to a little contest for the best first paragraphs. I've waded through about 700 of the close to 2700 entries (gasp!) and am just tickled at all the different voices and ideas out there. Plus, since I'm NOT going to read my boring English homework, at least I'm learning something and not wasting six hours playing Bejeweled.

Although, I do think hand-eye coordination is to be practiced every once in a while.

I've noticed something. When trying to read that volume of material, I have started skipping if a sentence is awkward in any way, or if a word is used wrong, or the voice does not capture me. Fewer and fewer stick out. Hmmmmmm. Maybe he's SHOWING us something instead of trying to TELL us. Hmmmmmmm.

I will endeavor to read them all. I'm going to print out all 600 pages and really read them. I think there are some fabulous writing minds out there, and I intend to, for free, learn what I can from technique, style, and masterful creation. Plus, it will be interesting to see if I pick what anyone else (Nathan) would. I have to say, I wouldn't pick mine. I think the voice is okay, but it didn't flow nicely. Now that I've read all those others, I see what is lacking in mine. I'm not sure how to fix it, but I have a better idea of what "good" is.

Just now, this minute the contest is closed. 2651 entries. I guessed 3000 so I was a little short, but I have to go now and start reading.


Jo Taylor


  1. Thanks for the kind words! I agree, the first sentence of my paragraph is SUPER clunky. I think I got a little panicked during my edit and tried to squeeze in everything I could to give the story depth...rookie mistake! I'm sure I'll make more, but I was excited that my paragraph at least caught ya for a sec!

    I agree with what you said in this post. It is REALLY educational to simply read the work of others and test my abilities to weed out the REALLY good stuff. I picked quite a few of the finalists, including Travis. His paragraph knocked my socks off!

    Now I just wish that I could apply what I know to my work a little bit (okay, a lot) better.

  2. Hi L,

    Thanks for visiting my blog! I think the way for all of us to get better is to read, read, read, and write, write, write. It will be fun to follow you as you do that.