“If you want to be a writer, you gotta be a reader,” someone (me) once said. But who has the time to do both? Here’s a solution that works for me.
When I’m stuck on a novel–frozen up, blocked, or otherwise suffering a complete loss of confidence –I get my ass to a library. Preferably a biggish one, but any library will do. I start wandering the Fiction Aisles, pulling novels off the shelf at random. I read the opening page or so. Decide quickly whether I would read this novel (usually not), then move on.
After only a few samplings, a weird thing starts to happen: rather than be disheartened by all these published books and famous authors, I understand that there are a lot of bad books on the shelves. Boring. Dated. Dusty. Dead. Even top authors have written clunkers (most have only two-three titles, or even one, that has endured).
As I skim-read and and move on, I start to see my novel-in-progress in fresh terms. I begin to see the kind of lively opening needed to catch MY attention. I see the kind of sentences and dialogue required to hold MY attention. In short, I begin to see the kind of writing needed to make MY novel competitive.
The goal of Power Reading is to place your writing in the context of other authors. Lots of them. And in a short time span. Power Reading will empower you in many ways. Give it try, and let me know how it works!