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Monday, May 26, 2008

Don’t forget to read!

This is probably like preaching to the choir but it should be said as a reminder how important reading is to writing. And no, not just books on craft that teach you all sorts of methods, tips, tricks and theories on how to write, but good ol’ novels that take hold of you and don’t let go.

Reading for pleasure is vital to the writing process. How else can we write novels readers will get lost in if we don’t get lost ourselves? The process of falling in love with a book is a valuable tool. Yes, you can examine the methods an author used to write such a gripping novel. You can identify the types of suspense, character development (or lack thereof), use of goal, motivation and conflict an author utilized to snag you as a reader and all of that would be educational—true. However there is another reason to get lost in a good book more vital that learning why it is so good.

Falling in love with a story is the ultimate burst of motivation, the spark that will ignite your imagination to get you to face the page in your own writing. If you are a writer, reading a wonderful book will only make you more determined to write one.

Sometimes I get so buried in writing (along with all the other million of things in life) that I forget to pick up and read a book for pleasure. Then I pick one up, get sucked in, skip meals, won’t answer the phone, make the kids forage for their own food because I don’t want to put the book down. My creativity starts to buzz and wiggle and when I face the page again, I’m ready for my fingers to fly!

Recently I have been doing another reread of the Harry Potter series. I savor each one, laughing—crying—wanting to kill Umbridge. I finish one and can’t start the next one fast enough.

Reading makes you a better writer. So—what good books have you read lately?


Gerb said...

Ginger, it's to true that writers need to be readers as well. I get inspired by reading really good books. Right now I'm captivated by The Host by Stephenie Meyer. Yay for long, stormy holiday weekends stuck inside with nothing to do. : )

Julie O'Connell said...

I've read a couple of books in the last few days. I finished 'East of Eden' by John Steinbeck for book club. It's one of my favorites. I also read 'Death by Bikini' by our own Linda Gerber - brilliant and couldn't turn the pages quickly enough. And today I read 'Battle of the Labyrinth' by Rick Riordan, the fourth book of the Percy Jackson Olympian series. It's piddling down rain today, so it's perfect reading (or writing) weather!

Nicole Maggi said...

Ginger, what a great post. It's so true that we need to keep reading in order to keep our Well stocked. I like to read books in my genre or time period when I'm working on a novel. Right now I'm reading a YA called Leonardo's Shadow. And over the weekend I read Death by Bikini virtually in one sitting - yay, Linda! It's wonderful. I also have chunks of classic novels delivered to my inbox daily by - check it out. It's a wonderful service and classic novels are free. Right now I'm working through Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.

Lenore Appelhans said...

Getting back into writing reviews has really helped me "read like a writer" and has helped my own creative writing. And if my reviews help others discover great books, all the better!

Gerb said...

Lenore, that's a good point... writing reviews you probably look deeper at story elements, etc. than the average read-for-pleasure reader. And that's got to help with your own writing.