Hello Wicked Readers. Our Wicked Wednesday Theme for September is paradigm shift. (Because Sept means seventh, but September is the ninth month–get it?)
Today I want to ask about something I’ve always wondered about.
We often hear about “reading like a writer.” Some writers say that they always read like writers, for example, thinking, “How did he do that?” or “I see how she did that.” And not being able to turn it off.
So I want to know, Wickeds, has being a professional writer changed how you read?
For me, I don’t think so. I was an English major and know how to read analytically, to look for and find the deep structure of a book, so that’s not a new skill for me. But I can still, after all these years, happily read along, letting a story wash over me. Every once in a while I’ll hear a little voice that says, “I see what she did there,” or “I wonder how he’s going to pull this off?” But it’s rare. Honestly, if I couldn’t enjoy reading, I would give up writing. I’m a reader first, last, and always.
Wickeds, what about you? Do you read differently now that you’re publishing a book or more a year?
Sherry: I do read differently. I’ve actually tried to fix a sentence when reading books on my iPad. But I also admire a beautifully written sentence and think, oh, I wish I would have written that. And even though it’s changed how I read, it doesn’t lessen my pleasure. I’d be lost without books.
Edith/Maddie: Great question, Barb. I think I have less patience for poorly written books now. There are too many good ones out there to waste my time, and I think I recognize great writing more easily now (I was not an English major…). I also pay more attention to opening lines, studying the best ones, and to the timelines of complex stories. But that doesn’t ruin reading for me. Like Barb and Sherry, I’d be lost without loving to read.
Liz: Fun question! I was an English major too, so I feel like I’ve always been overly analytical – and critical. But it’s never stopped me from loving to read. I definitely have picked up more skills over this past decade through learning more and perfecting my technique, so reading and analyzing has probably become more enjoyable for me if that’s possible!
Julie: I love when a story takes me on a journey and doesn’t give me time to think “how did they do that?” I feel the same way about theater. I know too much to merely observe, but I do love a production when I don’t notice the nuts and bolts. When a book particularly strikes me, I’ll reread it as a writer. The best example of that lately are the Thursday Murder Club books. I read them first for enjoyment. I’ve read them a couple of more times to look at how he tells the story. Can’t wait for the next book in the series next week.
Readers, what about you? I know many of you read a great deal and read about writing. Has it changed how you read? Writers, how about you? And reviewers, can you turn off the reviewer and just enjoy a book or is it always there? And if it is, does it enhance or detract from your enjoyment?