Learning Writing by Reading

2016 #ROW80 Round 1: Check-In 7

I had read 22 books this month, and by the end of January, that number may be 25. Every writing advice I had seen always mentioned that writers need to continue reading. In my case, reading is as important as writing.

I have two college degrees, but they are not related to writing or literature at all. Everything I know about writing, I had learned by reading. Some say we should not read in the same genre or style to avoid copying other writers, but I prefer to do the opposite. I read, write, and review MM Romances on a daily basis. I see the trends, the styles, and the things that make me think outside the box.

I also read writing guides and the sporadic MF story, but mainly, I read to keep my mind focus. As I’m writing this post, I’m reading as well. Type couple of sentences, read a couple of sentences. It keeps the boredom away and helps me multitask. The only problem is that sometimes, reading takes over, and that’s when I take notes. Why can I put the book down? What’s so interesting that makes the book more appealing? Is it the structure? The characters? The story? That’s when I learn the most, when I’m binge reading a book or a series. When I can wait to have the same effect on those reading my books. And that’s the best compliment a writer can have. I love when my friends say they can’t put a book down– it summarizes what we all want, the readers complete and undivided attention.

What about you? Do you still read those books that inspired you to write? Or do you fight with your story to death, making everyone around you miserable until you hate your story?

I’m in a reader’s mood at the moment, so any serious writing will need to wait until February 1st.

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4 comments

  1. That is a great idea! It never occurred to me to take notes on books I can’t put down. I tend to read in my own genre for the same reasons. I like to know what other writers are doing so maybe I can do something difficult or twist some aspect around. 🙂

  2. That’s an amazing number of books to have read already this month! I still read mostly in the genre I write in because, as you say, you can track the trends and see how other authors are dealing with the same elements you use in your own work.

  3. My first date with hubby was to the library — and we still haunt used bookstores and libraries. I read a variety of genres, sometimes my own genre. One of those writing guru articles I read suggested doing a riff on a story that I found compelling. Read the scene over and then write your own scene in the style of X. Ken Follett is one of my favorites for this writing exercise because (for me), his stories provoke the reader to fall into the story. And, as you point out, it’s all about strengthening that story. I hope your February writing goes well. Meanwhile, enjoy the book/s!

  4. I have tried the note taking but if I’m really into the book I cannot stop – I’m in it:) i agree that reading a lot is good for writing, I like all kinds of genre – have binges sometimes on a particular type but normally just read whatever – whenever – a world without books is a grey day indeed.

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