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Writing Tip - Read a Lot

Updated on October 7, 2017

If you really want to be a writer, you have to be an avid reader. It is from reading that you learn how to (and how not to) write. It really doesn’t matter what you read. Reading is the best teacher because you are the reader and can understand what the reader needs to see. Just as a restaurant owner needs to know what it means to be a diner, a writer needs to know what it means to be a reader.

Reading gives you a view of what is popular and acceptable as a writer. What genres do people like? What writing style? Are selective are readers when it comes to editing? To answer these questions, you have to do a lot of reading.

Contemporary Books

These are great tools to help you see what is the hot reads of the day. What is flying off shelves? Check out the bestsellers. Read them. Critique them. What can you learn from them? See what readers of today are finding popular. Check out new releases. Walk through a book store and see the tables with the new books on them. Note what appeals to you and why. That can help you with book covers, synopsis, and marketing.

Remember that you can also learn how not to write. Some books have hit the bestsellers list due to the topic more than the writing. In fact, the writing has been seen as absolutely atrocious yet the author sold books. Please don’t imitate them.

Classics

The classics are called that for a reason. They have held popularity over time that most best sellers never do. It happens for a reason.

Many can become classics due to the poetic writing that can be found between the pages. Others deliver universal messages that every generation can relate to. Read these words to get ideas on how to write in a classic style or deliver a classic message. Discover the different styles within the group of classics.

Different Genres

Even if you want to just write romance, read the other genres. Get a feel for how they deal with different scenes and emotions. You might find yourself crossing genres and creating your own unique mix.

It never hurts anyone to expand your wings. You might find you enjoy a genre you never ventured into before. I never would have thought I would write a science fiction story. I am not a big fan of them, but I read a few and found inspiration. Now I have a draft of one that centers around a romance. Maybe that will help ease me into the genre.

Different Writing Styles

As you read these different books, you’ll get a sense of the different writing styles. You don’t want to just imitate them. You need to learn from them. What works for a specific scene? What works to make dialogue flow smoothly? Read first person stories and third person. Which ones appeal to you?

Try to write like them. I am not saying to become their mirror image. You can learn how the others do it and then give it your own style. I struggle with giving description of the scene surrounding a character. I read several books whose authors were excellent at it and tried to copy them. Then I began to create scenes in my own style.

See What Readers Like

Read some of the best selling books on the market. If you are trying to appeal to a particular audience, you need to know what will interest them. If they prefer more informal writing, why are you writing in a more formal style that will appeal more to the high-brow readers?

Inspiration

By reading other books, you can find inspiration for your own. I'm not suggesting you plagiarize or copy another person's style. I'm suggesting letting other people's work give you ideas for stories and plots.

Read a book and think of how it could have played out differently. Maybe take a small character and think about them. You come up with a story about them. Don't take another author's work. Just let them get you thinking about a different story and creating one that is so different yet inspired by them.

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    • jo miller profile image

      Jo Miller 8 days ago from Tennessee

      I can't imagine life without reading.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 10 days ago from Ohio

      Thanks Rebecca! This is all excellent advice. :)