April 25, 2017


By Susan Reichert, Editor-in-Chief for Southern Writers Magazine 

“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

I ran across the above quote not long ago and it struck me how many times I have heard, “I don’t like to read.”

Yet that person is trying to write a short story/book. I am not sure why or how they think this business is done, but if they don’t like to read, chances are they may tire and give up on writing. The two basically go hand in hand.

To me, only a reader can understand the depths a writer goes to create a new world with different characters walking around, living day to day lives in this imaginary creation.

Jeff Goins, who is an author, blogger and speaker said, “Writers need to read. A lot. Magazines. Books. Periodicals. And so on. They need to grasp the art of language, to appreciate the finer points of words. As they read, they should jot down ideas and capture thoughts as they come.”

When we read a book, it is like being in a one-on-one relationship with the author who is showing you how they write, their style, character development, scenes, plots, and dialogue.

You will see things pop up that make an impression on you. Ask yourself, why did that make an impression? Jot it down. I agree with Jeff, write down the ideas and thoughts as they come to you and think about it when you have completed the book. What did you like about it? What didn’t you like?
Seeing how other authors write is like getting a free class in writing. Pay attention. Nothing is more motivating to me. There are even some books I read I think to myself, I could have written that.

One thing I notice as a reader, my vocabulary jumps higher, words fall out of my mouth and onto the pages faster.

When was the last time you read a book and found yourself intrigued? Learning? Story ideas popping?

As writers, we can enlarge our worlds by reading so we can aspire to greater written works.

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