Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Writing & Publishing Tip #3: Read. Please!

Writing & Publishing Tip #3: Read. Please!

I am an avid reader and have been since I was eleven years old. Reading not only helped me discover my love of writing but it also helped me become a better student. The year I started reading I went from a C average to a B+ to eventually an A. Of course that all changed when I got to college but that’s a whole other post LOL.

As writers, some people may not believe that it is important to read. Believe me, they are out there. That baffles my mind, really. How can a person expect others to pay for your writing if you are not willing to contribute to the industry by way of reading other artist yourself? Nevertheless, there are a number of reasons why, as writers, reading is beneficial and even a necessity.

Here are just a few:
  • Learn the art of writing by reading- When you read, you learn grammar and other writing skills by practical application. It is surprising how much the mind absorbs.
  • Find your own voice- Reading different authors can assist you in finding your own voice because you will know what you like and what you don’t. It is not about copying a writer but learning from her.
  • Learn about different styles- There are so many styles, formats, and genres that you can learn how each one compares against each other and what is appropriate for your writing.
  • Examples of what not to do- Reading a variety of books can give you a good example of what you hate as a reader that you would not want to do as a writer.
  • Examples of what to do- Again, you can decipher what aspects you enjoy seeing in a book.
  • Gather inspiration- There are times when I read an author’s work and it just inspires me to writer better or to learn more about writing. Other works can inspire great stories even if it is variation of one already out there.

I mainly read for enjoyment purposes but in the back of my head, questions swirl and I try to file away little tidbits. Sometimes when I find a morsel that so good, I actually write it down. Here are some of the things you can keep in mind when reading.

  • What is the difficulty level of the book?
  • Is there a unique style?
  • What makes it unique?
  • What is the genre?
  • What do you or don’t you like about the writing?
  • How does it compare to what you write or what you would like to write?
  • How does the story flow? Pacing?
The aforementioned are just the tip of how an author can benefit from reading a variety of authors, genres, and works. Personally, I read mainstream, romance, historical romance, some mystery, some fantasy, some literary, and some horror. The benefit for me is growth as a writer. As a reader, I am enjoying myself (hopefully, it’s a good book) and learning at the same time. It is the best of both worlds.
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