I looooooove Writer Unboxed. That is seriously one of the best websites EVER for writers. One post that came out early this year was “Be a Copycat“. I love, love, love this post. I think Keith is spot on in his idea for practicing the greats. Musicians practice pieces written by other musicians, no? Well, why can’t writers practice writing passages from their favorite authors? Now, don’t misread us here. We are not talking about working another author’s words into your own manuscript. No, no, no. That is what we call plagiarism. This is simply practice. Practice means exactly what it sounds like. Take a passage from your favorite book or from one of your favorite author’s works and simply copy it onto a word document or blank sheet of paper.
Discover what it feels like to write the words of your favorite author or book. Let their word choices roll around in your head. Think about if you would have chosen those words yourself!
Again, this is an exercise that’s meant to strengthen your skills and help you identify word choice and how other authors describe, show, and tell. This is NOT a way for you to copy entire works, ideas, or characters.
My copycat practice is going to be extensive. I have so many favorite books and authors. I think once a month, I’d love to take a book and copy the first page. I want to know what it feels like to write like…
If you were going to practice this exercise, who would you pick to “practice with”? I’d love to hear your choices!