I read an interesting article the other day about the importance of authors reading books – even if they don’t like to read. Does that strike anyone else as very strange– Not the importance of reading, but an author not liking to read? How can an author write a compelling story and expect readers to enjoy their work if they don’t enjoy reading? Mind boggling.
Reading for indieBRAG gives a reader an opportunity to analyze both the good and not so good attempts at writing a worthy book. I have often been told by authors that after reading a book for indieBRAG they have gone back to change things in their current works. It is not uncommon to find things they don’t particularly like only to realize they have committed the same error in their writing. So, you see, it isn’t important to only read the great classics, but to also learn from those who are trying to appeal to your audience as an author.
Stephen King has also said in his book on writing:
“The real importance of reading is that it creates an ease and intimacy with the process of writing… Constant reading will pull you into a place… where you can write eagerly and without self-consciousness.”
As a reader-
Can you accept good storytelling if the story is short on depth or fact?
Can you forgive spelling and grammar errors if there is a great story?
Do you enjoy a writers attempt to move out of the prescribed norms of writing techniques?
Can you enjoy historical fiction that is loose with historical fact?
What made a book a real page turner that your book just doesn’t seem to do?
Can well-crafted characters inspire your creation of characters?
How about dialog, good or bad, how does it stand up to yours?
The fact is, a book doesn’t have to be good to teach you. I might even venture to say you can learn just as much from the errors of others than many of the good books can teach you.
There is no shortage of quotes from great authors on the importance of reading. They all mention how influenced they were by book –mostly ones they like. They all read voraciously and many of those books
didn’t go on their “greatest” list so I think we can assume they were found lacking. I bet many of those books taught these accomplished authors a great deal about the craft of writing, the importance of research and the opening of their imagination to a world of ideas.
We have been sharing some of the thoughts from many of our indieBRAG authors and our readers about what is important to them about writing and reading. I hope you will all stop by and share your thoughts.
“Reading and writing, like everything else, improve with practice. And, of course, if there are no young readers and writers, there will shortly be no older ones. Literacy will be dead, and democracy – which many believe goes hand in hand with it – will be dead as well.”
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.”
“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.”