What I’m Reading 8th April

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It’s been another week of little reading time, but I did manage to squeeze some time in! I finished reading A Spy’s Guide to Taking Risks by John Braddock, and it was a fascinating read.

Spread over the chapters is the tale of Braddock’s first time travelling to a meet in alias. At first, it seems pretty benign but quickly plunges into a “worst day ever” scenario. We follow him as he does risk analysis on the fly, ditching border guards and a possible tail.

In each chapter, Braddock steps away from the story to explain a spy’s decision making in risky situations. The thought process, the AND-OR components that go into their decision making, the factoring in of every possible eventuality–and assigning probability percentages.

As I read, I saw ways of utilising what I’d learnt in my everyday decision making. But, mostly, I couldn’t stop seeing how I could use it in fiction.

And now, onto this week’s reads.

[FYI: The book links are free from affiliate codes.]

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What I’m Reading 1st April

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I can’t believe it’s been three weeks since I shared my latest reads. But, to be honest, all of my reading plans went out the window. Well, not out the window; they just went so slow that I had to re-read chapters to remember what happened in the days since I’d last read.

I go through the odd month of barely getting any reading done, but I’d thought that wouldn’t be an issue given that I was reading two of my favourite authors. But, I know why I’ve struggled to get much reading done.

Okay, that last statement sounds like I did some deep thinking about the issue and came up with some startling revelation… nope. As I was reading my Fun read–a book I know I love because I’ve read it multiple times–I suddenly remembered that I don’t read fiction when I’m writing fiction.

It probably sounds insane. Wouldn’t reading fiction, especially a well-written novel in my genre, be helpful? For me, no.

While I was writing my scenes, I noticed a different tone slipping in. It was present in the narrative, the dialogue, and the characters. It wasn’t a crappy tone. It was just a bit darker than mine and with less humour. Basically, it wasn’t suitable for my story. (H. R. D’Costa calls it tone tampering.)

So, with my lesson learnt, I’ve decided to give fiction a by while I’m in writing mode.

[FYI: The book links are free from affiliate codes.]

The Work Read

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What I’m Reading 4th February

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I’m changing things up a bit this week. Instead of having three books in rotation–a work read, a fun read, and a me read–I’m going with just the two.

After several weeks, I’ve finally finished my work read Writing for Emotional Impact on Kindle. The book is chock-full of fantastic writing tips on eliciting emotion via dialogue, context, and word choice. There’s also basic writing advice on theme, scene structure and character.

With it taking me so long to read and make notes, I need a break from reading about the craft of writing–for a week, if I can last that long–so I can let what I’ve learned sink in. (That just means more time to read my other books!)

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