Friday, November 13, 2015

Reading Through a Writer’s Eyes and Thoughts on Marissa Meyer's Winter

An interesting phenomenon when you spend a great deal of time editing and revising is that you start noticing mistakes. In everything. Especially in books of bestselling writers, because, let’s face it, everyone has a different opinion on art, and what one person likes isn’t necessarily what another person likes. I’ve heard other writers and editors complain about it. The inability to turn it off long enough to enjoy the story.

It’s true, to an extent. This year, I’ve really pushed to improve myself as a writer. I’ve advanced in ways I wouldn’t have imagined in January. I’ve critiqued and revised, even started a new series. I also made a goal to read 52 books this year.

This week, I read Winter, the final book in the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. If you haven’t picked up the books, I highly recommend them. I found them last year and blasted through Cinder and Scarlet. Then I had to wait for Cress to come out. I thought that was torture, but then I had to wait for Winter.

I’m a huge fan of Marissa Meyer. I love her writing style, her characters, and her story. I also love the fact that she’s a NaNoWriMo author. Both Cinder and Scarlet were written during NaNoWriMo. If that’s not motivation, I don’t know what is.

While I’m working on my current novel, I’ve also been thinking about revision. I’m not a stranger to revision, out of the five novels I’ve written, I’ve probably done an average of 3-5 revisions on each. But as I work on the Orange WIP, I realize that maybe I’m not doing it as effectively as I could. As I researched revision, I found Marissa Meyer’s blog, and she gave an incredibly helpful and detailed summary of how she revises.

One of the things that popped out to me was that in her first revision, she asks what she can do to make things worse for the character. How she can make it less easy.

Knowing that, I read Winter with new eyes. There were moments when I could almost see her going through, thinking, nope, this is too easy. Time to make them suffer.

And suffer they did.

But because I still had my ‘writing goggles’ on while reading, I was able to pick up on those small details that I might not have noticed otherwise. I loved the book, and I was depressed when it was over. But I have a feeling that I’ll be going back to those books over and over again, probably with my kids as well. And when I start revisions, I will be taking Ms. Meyer’s process in mind, making things as physically and mentally difficult as I possibly can for my characters.