Today we are happy to have our pub-sister Vanessa Barger here to chat about the importance of reading to a writer. I couldn't agree with her thoughts more. I think reading is the single most important thing a serious writer can do to improve their craft. But before we delve into Vanessa's spot-on post, here's a little bit about her new YA paranormal novel, A Whispered Darkness. It sounds absolutely fantastic and is available now!
Title: A Whispered Darkness
Publication date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Vanessa Barger
When Claire Mallory’s father leaves, her mom moves them to a new town and into a dilapidated
The old house creaks and whistles, and smells well — like it’s been abandoned for years. But as the nights grow longer and the shadows take on substance, Claire wonders if the strange sounds and occurrences might be more than the house showing its age.
Just as things start to pick up in Claire’s love life, her mother becomes possessed. In an attempt to save her mother and their new home, Claire enlists the help of two boys, each of whom is interested in Claire for different reasons. As she chooses one boy over the other, something dangerous is unleashed, and the spirits make their move.
They aren’t content to moan and scream inside Claire’s house, or even control her mom. They want a taste of freedom, and she’s their key to getting it. But is Claire strong enough to fight off the evil spirits, or will they claim her and her mom before it’s all over?
The Importance of Reading to a Writer
by Vanessa Barger
Thanks for letting me guest blog today. Since I’ve been given free reign (insert evil laughter here) I took a while thinking of what to say. Do I talk about the road to publication? Nah. Where I got the idea for A WHISPERED DARKNESS? Meh. Instead I thought I’d talk about the importance of reading to a writer.
Some of you are looking at me like I’m crazy. Of course you read. But I want to stress the importance of it. As writers, you get caught up in your own worlds. Especially if there’s a lot going on. For me, I teach high school, then write (sometimes more than one thing at a time), then work on blogging and the things that come with having a book published. Hopefully I’ll be juggling speaking engagements with that someday as well.
It’s important to take the time to read. While I think authors should read extensively in their area – otherwise how do you know what else is out there – I think as long you’re reading something it doesn’t matter. I had a critique partner once who used to say she had to “refill her word count” and take a break to read a book. I think that’s pretty accurate.
It’s easy to write a book, edit it, submit it, edit it again, send it to crit partners, beta it, edit it, rinse and repeat and you get tired. But if you read a book or two (or seven) it helps to get you motivated. Reading someone you admire makes you want to do better as a writer. You get pumped and inspired.
Reading someone else’s work is kind of like watching those ridiculous football movies if you’re a football fan/player (Forgive me if I offend. There are football fans, and then there are people like me who hide at the mention of a touchdown). They make you want to be better.
Anything that can inspire you to be better and make your work better and is something fun wins in my book.
I have a few suggestions – if you want beautiful prose, read anything by Lisa Ann Sandell. You want creepy and gritty? Cryer’s Cross by Lisa McMann. Fun Scifi? I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore. Light hearted historical? Eva Ibottson will do it for you.
I could go on, but those are some great suggestions. If you have something you adore, I’d love to hear it! I’m always looking to add to my never-ending reading list!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Vanessa Barger was born in West Virginia, and through several moves ended up spending the majority of her life in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She is a graduate of George Mason University and Old Dominion University, and has degrees in Graphic Design, a minor in Medieval and Renaissance Literature, and a Masters in Technology Education. She has had articles published in Altered Arts Magazine, has had some artwork displayed in galleries in Ohio and online, and currently teaches engineering, practical physics, drafting and other technological things to high school students in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. She is a member of the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and the Virginia Writer's Club. When not writing or teaching, she’s a bookaholic, movie fanatic, and loves to travel. She has one cat, who believes Vanessa lives only to open cat food cans, and can often be found baking when she should be editing.