Reading like a writer is a valuable technique. Some of the most successful people in history have been voracious readers.
As a writer why would you not consult and study the work of others?
Recently I wrote a post — 5 Tips for Attracting More Readers with A Killer First Sentence. Since then I have become obsessed with studying first lines in everything I read. I even keep a notebook of first lines. Not just for those articles and books I love but, for the ones I have never finished.
I became addicted to reading at an early age. My earliest memories of my mum, involve her with a book in her hand. Whether she was reading to us or for her own pleasure, she always had a book. As children, we had monthly visits to the library and bookshops. These are some of my fondest memories.
In junior school, we had a visit from Nigel Hinton. He stated good authors see their books in their mind like a movie reel. I’m not strange, I thought, those movie’s running in my head are actually books fighting to get out. It was several years later when these actually made it onto paper.
Recently I have noticed that my reading styles have changed. I have become more analytical in everything I read. Here are my suggestions to help your reading improve your writing.
How to Read Like a Writer.
Increase your reading speed to devour more books.
- To enable you to do this I would suggest you enjoy what you are reading. As you get better at reading you can tackle the classics with more skill.
- Read using a medium that is comfortable for you. You can learn as much from reading a newspaper as you can from reading a novel. This is especially true if you want to be a journalist.
- Read in a genre you are going to write. This has much more benefit than picking a book up because someone in a post told you to.
- Practice, you will increase your reading speed.
- Look at how the author has built-in suspense.
- How dialogue has been used to set a scene. I studied novels to work out how to lay out dialogue.
- Look at how an article is started. In news how do the journalists ensure you have all the information you need in such a short word count. This is why it is essential to read in a genre you write.
Record Your Observations
- The memory is a wonderful thing but, like a computer, it can only hold so much information. Read with a notebook beside you. I have a lovely softcover, moleskin notebook I carry with me everywhere.
- Record phrases that moved you. Beautiful prose and of course first sentences. I have even on occasion recorded signs and menu’s that have inspired me.
- Frequently I look back on these observations. Some may be the seed that starts an article or short story.
Reading has many benefits, a sense of escape and improving mental health are only two.
To a writer, reading should be your greatest resource.
If you want to be a writer, you must do two things about all others: read a lot and write a lot. Stephen King
What books inspired you to write?