Writers as Readers by Donna

“Read, read, read. Read everything - trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You'll absorb it. Then write. If it's good, you'll find out. If it's not, throw it out of the window.”

William Faulkner

My YA Muse shelf is growing!

I've always been an avid reader.  Recently, my best friend from childhood reconnected with me on Facebook.  She is a teacher now and was in a professional development session when she sent me a message.
"We're talking about writers being prolific readers," she wrote.  "I'm sitting here thinking of you and what you were like in elementary school.  What I remembered was that you read even while you were walking home. I would warn you if there was a big bump so you didn't trip!"
    I had to laugh.  I don't remember that, but I do remember reading everything I could get my hands on. I don't doubt my love of the written word was formed by the many, many books I read.  Reading and writing are so connected in my mind, I can't imagine one without the other. These days, I spend most of my "free" time writing, and my reading time has suffered a bit, but I still see the connections.  Maybe now more than ever.

It has become more challenging now, but I don't want to consciously notice the writing while I'm reading. Nathaniel Hawthorne said, "Easy reading is damn hard writing."  I certainly want to appreciate the craft and skill of an author while I'm reading, but I don't want to miss out on the story.  Once I finish a book, and love it, I go back and take notes about how it was done.  I keep reading notes in my journal and record examples of characters, settings, and descriptions.  I try to find the spot when my disbelief was suspended and I was lost completely into the created world on the page. 

I dissect it.  

How did it happen?  

When did it happen?  

How did someone write symbols on a page that created a world in my mind more real to me than one where I physically reside?

I'll note page numbers and, sometimes when I'm really stuck, I'll start my writing time by re-reading a great example of what it looks like when a story is working beautifully on the page.

So, what's your "go-to" book when you write?  Do you have something you re-read over and over again for inspiration?
Sometimes my reading (and writing) is interrupted by Roxanne, the Goat Dog.



Love this story. I cringe when I hear a writer say they don't have time to read. It's part of our DNA!

The more I read, the more inspired I am. (Sometimes it's hard getting past that "inner critic", but once I do, I love it.) I think it's the only time my brain actually rests. ;)

I don't have a go-to book, but I recently read The Curiosities by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff, and I was so inspired I wrote five short stories that weekend!
It seems to take more discipline than I have to take notes, but I'll make that a goal for the next one!

Very true, Donna! I need to re-read Skinny to see how you make it so terrific!! And still plan to blog about it too..someday!

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