I was working on a story the other day and spending some time reflecting when an email came in from a fan. The question asked of me was, “How do you find time to read for pleasure?” I’ll share with you what my answer was to her. I make it a point to find the time to read for pleasure. I think one of the greatest things a writer can do to continue to develop his/her craft is to read! Reading books in the genre I write is so helpful. I like to learn about how other authors build their characters, play with word usage in their dialogue, and craft their plot. I don’t do this to copy what they are doing, but to learn how to tighten my manuscript and build my writing muscle.
One of the writers I envy the most is Dean Koontz. I just love the way he paints a picture with words. He places me right in the middle of a scene, and I can visualize what is going on around me. He can describe the moon in such a way that I feel I can just reach out and touch it. I find that learning extremely valuable. I learn about plot twists and I challenge myself to see if I can figure out what the writer is going to do before they do it. Many people ask me if that doesn’t ruin reading for me, but it doesn’t. Especially if I’m spending time with a good writer.
So…read your fiction. Take time to enjoy reading in the genre in which you write. You will begin to develop your craft in a way that will surprise you and you’ll have a great time doing it.
Kelly – so right and I try to read fiction every morning before I write. It usually provides me with enthusiasm and confidence, often makes me realize I might be trying to be too perfect with what I write, sometimes makes me realize, ‘hey, I can write as good as this author.’ I read a lot of Dean Koontz novels myself. Servants of Twilight was the only book in my life I actually read twice. I read an article about his approach and he said he revises each page 40 times before he moves on because he is so focuses on the words and how they convey the meaning, even more than the characters of plot.
Hi Jack, So glad to meet another Koontz fan. Wow, 40 times huh. That’s funny because that is what my next blog entry is about. Thanks for commenting.