A late post because of school and garbage, but otherwise, I learned so much from my reading choices and I’m excited to share. It was a great month in terms of learning how to write and important things to consider as a baby writer.
What I Learned: Building Scope
What struck me the most about this read was how, similarly to Kokoro in the March recap, the story managed to scale. That being said, it’s important to consider that scaling not only means building out the world and raising the stakes, but where this book fell flat for me was the lack of focus on the empathy with regards to human suffering. The first book felt more of a character study with regards to our cast, but this one wanted to take into account the events on the ground. It’s a delicate balance because you want to play with what readers want and what the story needs. Finding it can be a challenge and I saw some ways to bring that to life.
The Opposable Mind
What I Learned: How to Think
In terms of being a writer, there wasn’t much to be found here (real talk, this was a textbook for my Managing Integration class). It was a great instructional on how to thing through problems and really work all the tools available. The four-act structure of bringing together the obvious, the architecture, the other perspectives, and the final construction was a great template for thinking through issues that I can carry with me throughout my entire career.
What I Learned: Branding
This textbook for Brand Communications Decisions class held a good balance of infographics and storytelling. Vincent highlights each of his points with a case study, which is helpful for me as a more visual-style learner. It also dissects the myth of customer loyalty and how little it actually has to do with product offerings.
The Devil’s Prayer
What I Learned: How to Structure a Story
I was pretty close to giving this book 1 star (I received it from NetGalley in exchange for honesty). The writing was engaging and I got a real sense for the tension and the story. What took three stars away from a prosaically great work was the structure of it. The main character virtually had no function. She simply existed as a lens for us to read her mother’s diary through. The diary bits were engaging but because of the circumstances surrounding its production, it broke my suspension of disbelief in terms of immersing myself in a horrific story (the content warning was a necessary addition to the book’s description). What i mean, is that she spends most of the events jotting down all these details while functionally in a coma. I had trouble believing when it was written. The dialogue tags and character insertions made it read more like a fiction than a fictional memoir.
It got worse, however. Once the diary portion ended, there was a history book reading bit and I breezed so quickly through it, I’m not even sure why any of the characters that didn’t exist in flashbacks were even necessary. The Devil’s Prayer could have been great if someone had helped the author restructure to elevate otherwise great prose.
What I Learned: Managing Micro-moments
Disclaimer: I’m Elliott Junkyard’s critique partner.
What really gets me about Junkyard’s writing style is the way he inserts these minute glances into character’s quirks that is really inviting. It helps the reader get a good grasp at their wants and needs. It’s definitely something I want to learn because he make characterization so easy. In half a sentence, it’s easy to deduce characters’ motivations and thoughts. A coveted level of description efficiency, for sure.
In May, I’m doing a read-athon and getting some other readings done. I really want to finish reading two fantasy books while my boyfriend visits. Because I know how to manage my time.