Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Other things we learn from bio lab

You might remember my discussion of bio lab in my last post. About the time my prof mentioned you need to read a lot of lab reports to know what you like, she also mentioned you need to read a lot of reports to learn something else: What's been done.

When doing a write up, you need to acknowledge what's been done before. If you don't keep track of what's been done around your subject, your research could end up looking totally derivative and useless.

It's sort of the same thing with books. Sometimes the same idea occurs to three people at the same time (I've heard of it), but if you never read, you'll never know it's been done before or how to make your book original in comparison.

Books are good. Books are fun. Books are context.

Go forth and read!

Monday, February 7, 2011

You've Got To Look For What You Like

Once upon a time, I sat in a Bio Lab where the prof assigned us a pair of articles and asked for our critiques. After a while, she explained that part of the point was for us to get used to looking at reports objectively, since we'd have to write them later. Then she said, "When you read things, you get a sense of what you like to see. Then you can do that."

That's when I had one of those *ding* moments. Like a little light bulb over my head.

It was like rehearing all of those things that writing sites and books always say all over again:
  • Write what you'd like to read.
  • Study published books. See how they're put together and learn from it.
  • Remember what made you like reading that book, and try to absorb that awesome.
I've been remiss in the reading department lately. Bad on me. Books are an essential for a writer. I do solemnly swear to make time for reading.

What have you been reading lately? What books have taught you about writing?