Reading as a Writing Tool

While leading a teen book discussion group I learned that the teens in the group were incredibly intelligent and could discuss the books we read in great detail. In order to be able to keep up with them, I began taking careful notes keeping track of chapter lengths and page numbers. I also tried to guess which parts of the book they would like or not. As a result of doing this I discovered that this was an excellent way to study writing.

I learned about pacing and what makes a reader turn the page. I learned what makes a reader love or hate a character. How much detail is too much? When there is too much dialogue and not enough action. Information dumps.

Now when I read I like to read for pleasure but also with an eye to these details that help me as a writer. The good authors make it look easy. I wish it was. I can see what makes great storytelling but putting it into action is often much harder than it looks.

In the meantime I’ll keep reading and writing.

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