Every writing class I’ve ever taken has stressed the importance of reading, and reading a lot. Instructors promote everything from romance and science fiction to memoirs and short stories.  This is an easy activity for me to fit into my writerly workday. I love to read. And I love learning from other writers through their written words on the page.

 Recently I stumbled upon “Read Like a Reader. Read Like a Writer.” by Steve Peha (Teaching That Makes Sense). This handout, geared to teachers, offers some useful information for writers as well.

“Reading like a writer. When we read from the perspective of a writer, we focus less on what the writer is trying to say and more on how the writer is saying it. Specifically, we look at the techniques the writer is using to get his or her message across and how those techniques affect us as we experience the text.”

Peha shares: “Because we are writers ourselves, we pay close attention to the techniques a writer is using and how those techniques contribute to the meaning of the piece and improve its quality.”

Peha says that when we read like a writer, we should pay attention to six elements:

Ideas.

Organization.

Voice.

Word Choice.

Sentence Fluency.

Conventions.

I’m curly up tonight with “The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo,” originally written in Swedish.  I’m eager to uncover the writing lessons Steig Larsson tucked in between the pages of this fascinating mystery.

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