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Anatomy Of Fiction: Reading Group for Writers


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Anatomy of Fiction: A Reading Group for Writers​

Reading does not make you a writer.

That's an odd piece of advice, isn't it? "All you need to do is read and write to be a writer." You don't learn to write through reading any more than you learn carpentry by sitting in a chair. You learn to write by writing. And, when you do read something, you learn by dissecting it - what is the author doing? How are the characters and plot drawn together? You must read critically - That is the key.

- Chuck Wendig

Welcome to Anatomy of Fiction, a reading group specifically for writers. Here at AOF we don't just read great books, we dissect them with more fervour than the scalpel happy Goth kid dissected his fetal pig in twelfth-grade Biology.

Almost every great author doles out the same tired advice to novice writers:

"If you don't have the time to read, you don't have the time to write."
- Stephen King

But sometimes simply reading is not enough. In order to learn to write from reading, we need to learn to read with the critical eye of the writer. It is not enough to know simply what an author is doing in a text, we need to know why and how he is doing it.

Reading groups can add a whole new dimension to your writing process. By branching out and reading a variety of genres, authors and mediums you can be inspired to solves problems in your own writing in ways you may have never thought possible.

The Anatomy of Fiction reading group is an informal, non-committal reading group. You choose what months you want to participate.

Every two months we will choose a theme to study using the microscopic lenses of these five categories:

Ideas: specifically use of symbolism, metaphor, how characterization and setting and plot feed into supporting an emotional response in the reader.

Structure: looking at a variety of structures (3 act, heroes journey, pantsing vs. Plotting) and how authors use a variety of strategies to organize their chapters or ideas for greatest effect.

Voice: looking at writer's voice, narrative voice or POV and how the personality, opinions, and judgments behind the writing can make it more real and engaging. When writers choose deep POV and when they choose to remain omniscient and why.

Within these categories, we will discuss methods of:
- character development
- dialogue
- setting and world building
- The author's use of scene/sequel (if used)
- common genre tropes

If you feel that dissecting, analyzing and discussing fiction with a group of peers in an informal, roundtable setting is just what you need to branch out and take that next step in your own writing, then grab a lab coat and a scalpel and get ready to get messy!

January/February's theme will be "Writing Funny." The three book choices include:

The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galexy by Douglas Adams

The Princess Bride by Willian Goldman

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman/ Terry Pratchett

Choose one, choose two, or read them all and join in the conversation at


See you soon!


Fiery Keeper of the Hat
I would also add that just reading one of the books is a great way to participate and grow as a writer, whether you decide to join in on the discussion or not. We're taking care in our book selection to make sure we're finding a selection that can add value to most writers.

An article about the theme and why we chose each book will be going live on the home page early in January. So get a head start and get reading!