Well the same can be said about writing — Read before you write!!
In my upcoming book, “10 Easy Steps to Writing and Publishing,” the first step in the writing process is reading!
If you want to be a writer, you need to be perceptive to the world around you. Start by reading everything and anything. Broaden your horizon by reading fiction, non-fiction, and craft. Reading opens many avenues by allowing you to learn from other writers and get a sense of style and word choice.
Fiction is wonderful. Personally, I am a big fan of reading and I am not ashamed of telling that to anyone.
According to the Miriam-Webster Dictionary, fiction is written stories about people and events that are not real; literature that tells stories which are imagined by the writer. When we read fiction, we are allowed a glimpse into the author’s imagination. We can get a sense of their emotions, feelings, and thoughts.
When reading fiction, it also allows YOUR mind to work. An author uses words and it is their job to portray a picture of their character’s life as well as they can. The reader is then going to use the description described by the author to paint of picture of the characters and the story in their head. Whether or not that picture is in accord with the author is dependent upon how descriptive the author was.
As you read books, you can then get an idea on how to capture your reader. Pay attention to:
- Words that capture your attention
- Phrases that stand out
- Plots that keep your attention
- Characters that resonate (or repel if the “bad guy”)
Find your favorite author and see if you can “mimic” something that they did. You will in time need to find your own style of writing, but as I mentioned before, writing takes practice. The only way you will develop your own style is if you practice.
As one might guess, non-fiction is the opposite of fiction. Non-fiction encompasses books that are about true events and real people. Reading non-fiction books allows you to gather another sense of writing. These authors have to accurately portray a character that was once (or still is) a living human being. They must carefully craft their characters in a way that the reader comes away with a sense of learning about the real person and what kind of life they must have lived through.
You can learn a lot from reading fiction books and learning from authors. BUT there is something about reading craft books that help you learn about writing too.
Craft books can refer to a topic that you are studying. In this instance, I am referring to craft books as anything pertaining to writing. This can be on the topic of writing, editing, marketing, or publishing.
As you read through craft books, take careful notes. You are reading these to learn more about writing. You are not just trying to “check it off your list.” Sometimes it is helpful to hone in on one particular topic instead of reading the entire book in one sitting.
Here are some tips to getting the most out of this:
- Write a list on what you want to learn
- Look through the table of contents to see what pertains to you
- Read through the chapter
- Go back through and write down what stuck out to you
- Continue forever
Wait…forever? Yes. As author Jerry B. Jenkins once told me, you are never done learning. As an author, you will find something new that you never knew.
You can always get better at grammar and spelling.
You can always improve on plot intensity and character development.
And why wouldn’t you? Don’t you want to improve with each book that you write? Of course! Reading craft books is one way that you can really hone in on that technique.
Promise yourself right now that you will always read and learn.
Now, pick a book in each section that you are going to read and share in the comments!