“Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking makes what we read ours.” – John Locke.
There is something beautiful about getting lost in another world that someone has created for you. Being able to see the world through someone else’s eyes can help give an author a whole new perspective on the world which can then be translated into their own writing.
If you like writing, then the chances are that you also love to read. However, there are more benefit for the aspiring author who reads regularly than just getting lost in a good book. It is a widely believed fact that writing cannot be taught and on some level, I agree with this. The basic skills and techniques of writing can be picked up through lessons and grammar books. Nonetheless, if you want to become a great writer then really, you need to read.
Reading the work of others can teach you so much. Sometimes it can be discouraging when you read something that has been written so well that you think “Aaah this is so good I will never be able to write like this!” But the thing to remember is that everyone must start somewhere. It can be hard to know what to take away from a good piece of writing so below is a list of questions you can ask yourself when you next read something you want to imitate;
- Look at the variety of grammar and sentence structures used and consider how they are implemented.
- How has the writer used dialogue? How do the characters speak to each other and why do they speak like that.
- What themes are woven in throughout the book and how has the author done this?
- If there is a twist, look back throughout the book and find where subtle clues and foreshadowing of the twist are given away. How could this be used in your book or story?
- How are different genres of books structured and how does their language differ? Make sure the language you use fits the style of book you are writing.
- If you come across a character you like think about why you like them.
Equally, if you read something that is bad, go through these questions and think about why it is bad and doesn’t work for you. This is a very subjective task, so don’t be disheartened if others disagree with your points. Not everyone likes the same stories or style of writing, (remember there are some people out there that don’t like Harry Potter!)
So, in summery, keep reading. Read everything and once you have done that read it all again.
Have you got an example of something that has been written really well? Is there anything that you read recently that you really didn’t like? Let mem know in the comments.
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