Is Reading Part of Your Writing Diet?

It’s almost that time of year again, when we renew our commitment to read for research in order to inform our writing. As fellow Writers’ Rumpus bloggers and also the partners that bring you the Reading for Research Month (ReFoReMo) Challenge every March, Kirsti Call and I consume mentor texts as part of our regular writing diet. Although our study of the picture book form began 30 years prior to the birth of the ReFoReMo challenge in 2015, writing professionals have been advising others to read, read, read since the dawn of books! Studying another writer’s approach to craft is an incomparable ingredient, and one that we can’t live without. We recognize how vital it is to establish a regular reading routine as a writer, and we love helping others find their practice, as well. This is why ReFoReMo was born six years ago.

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ReFoReMo is always filled with varied perspectives from experts in the industry: writers, librarians, literacy advocates, editors, and literary agents. Our Facebook Discussion Group is the perfect place to post questions as you research mentor texts. The most frequently asked question in our discussion group year-round revolves around a writer’s current writing projects:

“Do you know of any mentor texts that….”

When writers write, they do market research to 

1) See what’s already out there related to their concept.

2) Make sure their concept approach is fresh.

3) Study the craft approach that other authors and illustrators make.

But with approximately 20 different presenter perspectives on mentor texts each March, we also love to see:

  • Discussions about the educational posts
  • Questions related to how a recommended approach is handled in books that may or may not have been mentioned in the post
  • Questions about how to get the most out of researching (not just reading) the mentor texts
  • Additional mentor text recommendations in regard to each post related to structure, plot, voice, endings, hooks, concepts, whatever the presenter might be highlighting

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Writing picture books is not easy. It is a concentrated, deep, and selective process which we consider an art. ReFoReMo, or Reading for Research Month, is a time to analyze the craft present in fiction and nonfiction picture books in order to make the art of picture book making a supported and educated process.

If you’d like to take part in this free month-long process, registration opens on the ReFoReMo blog on February 18 (www.reforemo.com).  We can’t wait to share it with you!

Be sure to join us at the ReFoReMo blog next week when we reveal the top secret talented presenters! Until then, we’d love to know who you hope to learn from.  Who are your mentor text masters?

10 comments

  1. I’ve already started reading lots picture books and realize I’m beginning to mine gems, but there is so much more value to be obtained. Thank you Kristi and Carrie for giving us effective mining tools.

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  2. It’s going to be another great March! I just watched a webinar with Mac Barnett, and some of his comments were really inspiring. Like leaving room in my stories for the readers to do some of the work. I think that’s a wonderful way to look at writing. Trust readers to figure it out! (Instead of telling them every little thing.)

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