Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Reading while Writing... "My One Square Inch of Alaska" by Sharon Short

When I read, I read for enjoyment and the craft of writing. In my "Reading While Writing" blog posts, I list and discuss the lessons I feel each book contained for me. Feel free to follow along and add your own lessons learned :)

I think I just read my favorite book.

Of course, I say this often after just finishing a book. But it's true this time ;)

This book was, in a word, lovely. It was packed with adventure, love, and beauty. If you want to read a great book, pick this one up. I mean it! I don't have a poker face, I don't lie. This book is that good.

What did I learn about it, in terms of the craft of writing?

Craft Lesson #1:

Don't color within the lines.

This author took an idea and ran with it, not looking back, not noticing the sideways looks. She just found inspiration and starting coloring and scribbling and I love what she did with the place.

I really enjoyed the time period the book was set in and the author did the perfect job of making sure I felt like I was there. 

Craft Lesson #2:

Have a unique attention grabbing cover.

This is why I picked up the book in the first place. As a women's fiction writer, I tend to lean towards the Barbara Delinsky type books with their covers beckoning me for another look. However, I couldn't not notice a dog outside a cute little camper in the middle of beautiful Alaska. Now that I've read the book, the cover is PERFECT for the story. I just wish I could visit the square inch with the characters.

Craft Lesson #3:

Don't shy away from hard subject  matter.

I won't spoil the book for anyone, but I will say that this book had a very heavy side to it. One that made the book, the adventure, the pain all worth while. When writing, we want to sugar coat things that aren't in the relm of pure love, happiness and all that jazz. But don't let that stop you. In the words of Stephen King, "This isn't church. This is writing. Tell the truth." And this book did just that with a topic that, yes, you'll need a box of tissues. But Sharon Short does it an a way that you feel enlightened by living through the storm with the characters' trauma.

Things happen. Life isn't always fair. But there are still ways to find the good in all the darkness.

And have fun doing it too.