Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Don't Forget To Read

In all the hustle and bustle of writing, it can often be hard to remember to stay up with one of the most key components that makes a writer good – the need to read.

When all we do is write, we tend to get stuck in the mud in terms of style.  We might have a great idea for a story and have a vivid picture of our characters, but this means little if we can’t convey those things in a way that keeps the audience interested.  That’s where reading comes in.

Reading the work of another allows us to stay fresh on what styles are out there, as well as what catches our attention in particular.  Due to the pressures of my job and trying to stay on track with my writing, I sometimes forget to read.  I enjoy folks like Stephen King, William Fortschen, and Harry Turtledove.  I also like to sample new authors I may not be as familiar with because you never know who might catch your fancy.  Doing this helps me stay up on the ways in which different writers catch our attention, which, in turn, helps out my own writing style.

Unfortunately, I’ve fallen behind in this.  Well, no more.  Now that my latest work is complete, and I don’t plan to write another novel for some time(even though I may do the occasional short story so I stay sharp), I’ve dived back into reading.  In a few weeks, I get back to the US and can catch up on one of my favorite pastimes – wandering through bookstores to find what interests me.  Some books will suck, but some will get me.

Reading is an essential part of writing.  Every author I know says this, and I notice an uptick in the quality of my work when I’m reading regularly.  So don’t forget to pick a book off the shelf every once in a while, and make sure you sample new things in addition to going back to old favorites.  Your readers will see the difference, and it will affect your sales.

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