Meet Katie Cross. . .
I’ve never met a transcriptionist who didn’t type, a math teacher who knew nothing about addition, or a doctor that had never been in a hospital.
So what’s the common point?
There’s no such thing as a good writer who doesn’t read.
I’d never thought of the importance of reading until Stephen King pointed it out to me. (Not in person, unfortunately.) In his book On Writing, King emphasizes how important it is as a writer to keep reading.
Really? I asked myself. What’s the big deal?
The big deal is this: we want to connect with readers. The only way to do that is to be the people we want to reach. How else are we going to know what works, or what doesn’t? Writing without reading is like painting a sunset in black and white. Sure, it’s possible to get something down, but it’s nothing compared to what it could be.
That begs the question: what should we read?
Or, if you have a focused genre, study it out. Are you the vampire kind of girl? An adventuring kind of guy? Then you need to figure out what’s already on the market. There’s nothing worse than a repetitive idea expressed with the same kind of plot. (Please, please, stay away from the whole vampire with a conscience that falls in love with an innocent girl who also wants to compromise her mortality and become ‘one of them.’)
I’m a fantasy writer. I have a book about witches at my editors titled Miss Mabel’s School for Girls. Currently, I’m reading Shadow Warriors by Tom Clancy. While working on that, I finished Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie. Just before I started those, I finished War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. The great thing about variety?
I learned a lot.
A little whimsy from the Darling children, a lesson in what kind of philosophy not to include in my fantasy books from Tolstoy, and the intensity of suspense from Clancy. Don’t feel like you have to stick with reading one book at a time, either. I typically have several books going.
In conclusion, it’s not enough to focus so much on writing that you stop reading. You, your characters, and your story, will suffer for it.
Have you broken through writers block by reading? Do you feel that your writing improves as you read?
Find Katie around the web from these links:
Follow on Twitter: @kcrosswriting
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Until next week - stay casual, live life to the fullest, and have a piece of chocolate for me!
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