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Reading to Write Better : Conversation question • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Reading to Write Better

Every month in Writer's Digest's InkWell section, we pose a question related to the writing life. Tell us your thoughts.
WildandLee
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Reading to Write Better

Postby WildandLee » Sat Jan 26, 2013 10:57 am

Greetings x

I've been checking out some of the Best Sellers that I think I would benefit from reading because I like to write in a similar genre/style/etc. However, some of the novels are fantastic to read and others I must push myself and I almost struggle to read all of it. When do you keep pushing and read a book that has become uninteresting to you, and when do you stop and choose something else? As of now I'm pushing through.

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mammamaia
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Re: Reading to Write Better

Postby mammamaia » Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:36 am

i stop as soon as it makes me have to force myself to keep reading...

if you want to learn how to write well, concentrate on the best writers' works, not just the bestselling books, many of which are churned out by poor writers... and read/study fiction by the masters of the writer's art, to see what wonders can be wrought with words...
ALL 6 e-book collections of my work are FREE...email me with "want free books" in subject line and include a message.

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louiseh87
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Re: Reading to Write Better

Postby louiseh87 » Sat Jan 26, 2013 11:52 am

I carry on until I'm finished. Unless the library wants the book back because some has requested it. Then, I'm never in a hurry to ask for it back again.
Louise :)

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LMGilbert
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Re: Reading to Write Better

Postby LMGilbert » Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:22 pm

I suppose you could force yourself to trudge through a bad book, in order to learn what NOT to do... but in most books full of bad writing, you'll see those things in the first chapter or two, and then you don't need to carry on with the pain.

monkeys1
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Re: Reading to Write Better

Postby monkeys1 » Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:50 pm

You know, it is very hard for me to push through a book that doesn't hold my attention. But now that I am trying to get serious about my writing, I think it's probably very valuable to do just that. With such a book, I can ask myself, "Why didn't it hold my attention? What was missing? " In many cases, I find that I lose interest because I get bogged down in too much descriptive detail. While it it is important to flesh out characters and develop scenes, it is equally important that all of the details and every character that is introduced move the story forward. Describing beautiful scenery and what a character is wearing from head to toe may seem like it adds to the realism of the story--and it can. For me, however, such descriptive sections should be crisp and minimal and pertinent to what we as the reader are being asked to discover as the point of the story. So, when I read a book that doesn't prompt me to do this, I believe it's a great analytical tool in helping me with my own writing--which is in its infancy stage! Hope this makes sense and is helpful!

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updog
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Re: Reading to Write Better

Postby updog » Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:41 pm

I rarely give up on a book before 100 pages. Some of my favorite novels started out painfully slow, but I pushed on and discovered something wonderful before the end. I'd have missed so many great books if I tossed them after only a few paragraphs or pages. Of course one of the reasons I don't put them aside easily is because I buy most of the books I read. Little bit harder to chuck 'em after I've spent money on them.
"Is it weird in here, or is it just me?" ~ Steven Wright



James A. Ritchie
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Re: Reading to Write Better

Postby James A. Ritchie » Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:10 pm

Not every book is going to please every reader, and this is not an indication of quality. My experience tells me that every bestseller is written well enough to sell, but not every book is written in a way that pleases us all. As an editor, I don't think I've ever found a bad book on the bestseller list, but I have found a lot of books there that either bored me to tears, or infuriated me with one thing or another.

I believe in giving any book a fair chance, but stop reading when you decide you would rather chew marbles and crap ground glass than continue. It's that simple. Sometimes I stop after only a few pages, and sometimes I stop halfway through. As long as you find enough books you do like to read, and there should be a lot of them out there, there's no point in reading ones that bore you.

Every minute you spend reading a book you don't like is a minute you won't be reading a book you love, and we're all born with a limited supply of minutes.

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Re: Reading to Write Better

Postby James A. Ritchie » Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:14 pm


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jane.macad11
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Re: Reading to Write Better

Postby jane.macad11 » Fri Feb 01, 2013 11:25 am

For me, if the book doesn't keep my interest, I put it down and read something else. I might go back to it and try again, I might not; it really depends on how intriguing the first portion of the book was for me. Some books I can get through no problem, others I might get half way and put it down for something more interesting. Some unread books I have collecting dust because I'm too preoccupied with other stories. Depends on the story line, how the hook grabs me, and what other stories call to me at the time.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
~Robert Frost

WildandLee
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Re: Reading to Write Better

Postby WildandLee » Sat Feb 02, 2013 11:12 am

Thanks all.

I think I will push on a bit further. The book I'm actually reading is called The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I now have a love/hate relationship with it. I want to find out what happens next but am impatient and frustrated with it. The next book I read will be one of those I can't put down. I'm looking for another series I can be obsessed with. Loved the Hunger Games, liked most of the Hush Hush series as well. Can anyone suggest any can't-put-down novels?

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