Monday, April 27, 2009


While I was in Florida a few weeks ago, Natalie came up and handed me a book report she had written about THE SACRIFICE and which I have loaded here to reward her for doing what every kids considers a tedious project. (And Natalie I apologize about the small print - it was the biggest my blog would allow)

Reading her book report, I was reminded of all the ones I had to do when I was in school. Now, I didn't mind reading the book - reading was always the best part about having to do a book report. But the book report itself - AAARGH!!!!! Why did I have to spell it out for someone else why a book was good or bad? Come on!!! Just read the book yourself! It was like doing those stupid Geometry proofs. If a million other people had already proved it, I couldn't grasp why I had to go and prove it again!

But as I reflected on those pesky assignments, I realized that by having to put into words just what I may have liked or disliked about a book, I was honing my own writing skills. WHAT??????

It's true. In writing a book report, you are actually judging what you like and don't like in the writing itself. Take for example a book you read that you loved up until the very end, and then you felt it lost itself. Do you really think that a few months later, you would write a story or a book that had that same kind of ending? Of course not!!!! Or how about a book whose character you just couldn't relate to? By reading and critiquing the work, aren't you discovering how you would like to create your own characters?

Conversely, there are those books you loved. What did you love most about it? In making that decision and in analyzing what made you swoon when you read the book, you are setting rules and making decisions about how you want to evolve as a writer yourself.

So don't groan when you have to write a book report. See it as an exercise in telling your conscious and more importantly, your sub-conscious how you as a writer want your own work to read! Pick the book to pieces! It will make you and your own stories just that much stronger.

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