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Reading (1 Viewer)

Jan

Senior Member
As this is a website for writers, I can't help but wonder how much reading do you people do? (outside of reading your own work)

I have found reading to be a crucial part of being a writer, as you get to expose yourself to language and observe how other authors carry out their work. The entertainment value in itself is also marvelous. I'm also biased towards the opinion that if you can read and absorb material well, you will also write well. Hence why I have now started my journey towards not only reading more, but also reading tougher books.

I want to know how you guys and girls approach reading. :)
 

Pamelyn Casto

WF Veterans
I do far more reading than the law ought to allow. I love reading good literature -- I love good poetry, good short-shorts, good essays. I used to be an avid novel reader but the shorter material appeals to me most now. I don't know how anyone can be a writer without also being an avid reader. (If nothing else, to see what's already been done or done to death.)
 

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
I believe reading good writing is essential to becoming a good writer. However, it isn't JUST reading, it's eventually understanding the techniques good writers use and how they achieve the effects they do, and recognizing them as you read.
 

Pamelyn Casto

WF Veterans
Right, vranger, it's much more than passive reading. Learning to write well involves reading like a writer (which means exploring effective techniques). I mentioned I enjoy the shorter works now. I don't consider a poem or short story read until I've done an analysis of the writing techniques involved. The better the poem or story, the more eager I am to explore its techniques.
 

SueC

Staff member
Senior Mentor
For a long time, I read the same type of books. Maybe recommendations from others. But just lately I've tried doing some research and trying to find interest in different styles and genres. This is mainly to, as vranger said, explore how other authors tell their stories. I had heard a lot about Flannery O'Connor, for example, as THE Catholic author (I still struggle with what exactly that means) and even bought her book, "Wise Blood," which I'm still wading through. The point, though, is that I reached out, trying to learn all I can about the written word, learning lessons that others can teach. How does another writer show terror, drama, fear? Years ago, I was reading Anne Rivers Siddon book, "Colony." She spent a lot of time explaining how ineffectual one of her characters was throughout the book, and almost in imagined frustration, she wrote, "He did not displace air."

That phrase has stuck with me for years and I continue to think of it as one of the most marvelous phrases I have ever read! I also read a lot of Stephen King, not because of the horror, but for his unfailing ability to unite people who are disenfranchised, lonely and needy. I'm currently reading a book from a friend that is a genre I have often passed over, but his work is so creative, fun, imaginative and wonderful that I have every intention of finding more like this.


Good discussion, Jim!
 

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
Right, vranger, it's much more than passive reading. Learning to write well involves reading like a writer (which means exploring effective techniques).
It also works the other way. I also now recognize when even good writers get something wrong. It's a bit disturbing because it makes it dicey to simply read for enjoyment anymore.
 
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