Learning from others

I set a writing challenge to my writing group and we meet tonight so it will be interesting to see what happened.

I asked people to re-read the end of a novel they loved and then write the opening scene to the sequel, using the same style and whetting the appetite for more. This was inspired by the release of Go Set A Watchman though a sequel actually the original draft of To Kill A Mocking Bird. I also think it’s a great exercise in studying style. In fact I have been doing a great deal of that lately looking at short story collections.

I also wrote something using Time Traveller’s Wife as my inspiration and looking at the way she structured her scenes, with dates and ages and there is a brevity to the language. There were so many books I could’ve chosen!

Anyone read Go Set A Watchman?

This is my brief review as posted on Facebook:

I found I didn’t love it but I loved revisiting characters I thought I knew. Only now our sympathies lie with ‘Scout’, all grown up and discovering her father isn’t the good white man on the side of the negro we always thought he was. The plot is loosely held together and the latter stages for me had too much dialogue and political discussion, losing plot. The flashbacks to a young Scout and Henry made me think Lee’s editor was right for focussing ‘Mocking Bird’ in the past as these are the sections for me with the most voice and colour. I guess it’s about what you want from a novel. Mocking Bird was a child’s view and saw the world with more innocence. Atticus was a beguiling hero. Watchman is a more realistic portrayal of Jim Crow and segregation. 

Wonder if others agree?

I did enjoy it but it made me want to read Mocking Bird again. The chapters in the past where we saw more of Atticus as we know him had the charm I loved so much about the first book!

I found this review in the Guardian that pretty much says it.


Go Set A Watchman


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