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16 Questions Every Writer Should Ask Themselves Part Two: Being a Reader

Updated on April 19, 2018

Being a Reader: Question Eight

How do you read the most?

--Skimming (a low understanding)?

--Scanning (a speedy comprehension)?

--Intensive (Remembering plot, characters, conflicts, etc)?

--Extensive (Actually processing the book, language as a whole. Stopping to appreciate the book, or also known as pleasure writing.)?

--Do you read aloud?

--Do you read silently?

--other ____________

Reasoning: Different types of reading are used for different situations. For school, the first three are usually faster when doing homework or while in class to gather an answer. Intensive and extensive are more time consuming because you as a reader actually slow down to savor the words the author has put before you.

My suggestion: read intensive and extensive when you can. Highlight, underline, tag any sentences, fragments, images, craft elements and style you particularly like when reading. It is important to read to learn how to write. We imitate writer’s styles knowingly or not, just by reading when we go to write. We become influenced of how to let a narrative unfold, how to introduce or place characters in a story, how to zoom in an out with a lens with our writing.

My other suggestions are to read both silently and aloud. You will get two very different answers to both syntax, language, and meaning. Sometimes, when I read aloud, I catch words that are missing. When I read silently my brain already fills in the words.

Being a Reader: Question Nine

What do you pay attention to when you read?

--The Writing Style or Craft? Tone? Syntax? Development and Placement of Characters? Plot Development? Use of Dialogue? The use of Imagery and Figurative Language? The placement of Scenes and conflicts?

--The Length of the chapters?

--The Title and Subtitles?

--To the Vocabulary?

--The Writer's Purpose?

--other ____________

Reasoning: The reasoning here is more of suggestions to pay closer attention to what you pay close attention to. When I read, I notice craft elements. The missing or added commas, scenes, character development, lyricism, interesting sentences, fragments, and/or ideas. What I don’t pay attention to is length of chapters (unless they’re all short), titles (unless you are reading Norman Mailer), and the writer’s purpose (is the author's purpose different from the narrator's purpose?)

Another suggestion is list authors you read and list what they have taught you, what you notice. It may be different for every author. See what you notice.

Being a Reader: Question Ten

How long should you read?

--10 minutes

--20 minutes

--30 minutes

--45 minutes

-60 minutes

--other ___________

Reasoning: Either make time or take the time you got in a day to read every day. Read a cereal box during breakfast, read a gossip magazine while waiting at the checkout line in the grocery store, re-read a favorite novel while at the family lake house, or a random novel you picked up at the store and have random time to read in between life. Reading like I have said before, teaches us many things we can’t be taught anywhere else.

Being a Reader: Question Eleven

What is your Favorite Genre?

--Fiction (Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Dystopian, Mystery, Short Stories, Young Adult, Middle School, Romance, Western, fanfiction, etc,)?

--Nonfiction (Blog, Newspapers, Articles, Journals, Biographies, Creative Nonfiction, History, Folklore, Memoirs, etc)?

--Poetry (Epics, Lyric, Free Verse, Sonnets, Etc,)?

--other ___________

Reasoning: Genres teaches us different things as well as certain genres fit our personalities better. What we like and what interests use depends on the type of book you pick up at the store. I know for me reading fantasy allows me to escape into a writer’s imagination. They came up with everything in the book like I do in writing, it fuels my own imagination. My colleague who likes to write literary fiction also reads literary fiction. However, reading nonfiction for me also brings me down to earth a little. It teaches a style writing I can apply to writing fiction and vice versa. Reading the fiction of Joan Didion it sounds and reads so much like nonfiction, it brings you deeper into the story and makes you instantly connect with the main character.

An interview with Paris Review on reading with style influences:


What you really seem to have responded to in these early influences was style—voice and form.


Yes, but another writer I read in high school who just knocked me out was Theodore Dreiser. I read An American Tragedy all in one weekend and couldn’t put it down—I locked myself in my room. Now that was antithetical to every other book I was reading at the time because Dreiser really had no style, but it was powerful.

And one book I totally missed when I first read it was Moby-Dick. I reread it when Quintana was assigned it in high school. It was clear that she wasn’t going to get through it unless we did little talks about it at dinner. I had not gotten it at all when I read it at her age. I had missed that wild control of language. What I had thought discursive were really these great leaps. The book had just seemed a jumble; I didn’t get the control 
in it[1]


Being a Reader: Question Twelve

Do you ever read outside of your favorite genre?

--Yes and here is why?

--No and here is why?

--other ___________

Reasoning: Check out this article for two reasons: One, it will show your personality and why you read certain genres. Second, what you can gain by reading different genres is adding to your own writing style, reading preference, and personality. Change it up in a while, you might find other authors from different genres that you come to like. Think of it as adding to your reading and writing resume.

What is your favorite Genre to read?

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