This afternoon at Young Writers Group, we were discussing mentor texts, only that’s not we called them.
If you’ve never heard of a mentor text, essentially it’s a book or piece of text that can serve as a good example of a piece of writing.
I set the participants a task to write about birthday traditions in a world they had created. One of them decided to write it in a diary style, however hadn’t read books that were written in that style as it’s not a style that appeals to him. I recommended he read Evan’s Gallipoli by Kerry Greenwood as an example, along with a couple of other books that are written in that style.
The recommendation was to read the book with a writer hat on rather than a reader hat. While reading, I suggested he take note of how the diary entries were structured as well as the story arc that held the story together.
I’m looking forward to hearing what he thought of the book, as well as seeing how he tackles the writing task once he’s more familiar with the style of storytelling.
One reason it’s important to read widely as a writer is to familiarise yourself with different ways of storytelling. Not all stories need to be written in the form of a narrative. Sometimes a story calls for a different style to tell the story in the most effective way, and reading widely can help. You never know when you’ve already read a mentor text for the type of story you’re writing!
Even if you aren’t deliberately writing books in a particular style or genre, read widely. Read a variety of books by a variety of authors in a variety of genre. You never know when that knowledge of a type of story will come in handy.
Another bonus, you never know when the information will be used in a trivia quiz!!