1. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    Can an poor reader be a good writer?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Charisma, Aug 2, 2014.

    Before a barrage of operational definitions hit me, poor reader = infrequent reader; good writer = well, you know, good enough to get published.

    Now, to expand on my query: do you think a poor reader can be a good writer? Like, can you train yourself to be a good writer solely through practice and critiques, or is reading essential in becoming a good writer?

    I ask because I'm not very well-read; I have read more than my fair share as a tween, but as I grew older, most of my reading was focused on academia and well, forums/RPing. I guess that's no excuse, but hey, I'd like to know--is there any hope for the likes of me?
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Before I answer, I'm going to tweak your definition of "good writer" to mean "someone whose writing I personally think is good." I do this because it's actually easy to have something published. For example, my friend could create a website and post my work on there, and that would be considered published material.

    Regarding your question, I do think it's necessary to read a lot in order to become a good writer. In fact, this is the number one piece of advice most famous writers give. Trying to write without being a good reader is like trying to compose music without actually listening to any music.
     
  3. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    @thirdwind
    What about deaf Mozart?
    He did rather okay, I'd say :p
     
  4. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Beethoven wasn't fully deaf, and before his hearing worsened he was extremely passionate about hearing music. I can quote you his diaries if you want? At one point he considers suicide because he can no longer hear music.

    First off being a quick reader or being well-read is not the same as being a good reader. A good reader is one who can see the subtleties of what a writer is doing. Being a bad reader is to me I guess someone who reads without question, thought, consideration or emotion.

    If you can read a text and really feel it, see how cleverly or poorly it is put together, and see how the writer has done what he has done then you can become an excellent writer. If you just read trash without emotion or a second thought then the road to quality writing might be closed to you.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014
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  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    You mean Beethoven? He wasn't completely deaf from the start. He lost his hearing over the years. Sort of like how Joyce lost his eyesight over the years but was still able to write (well, dictate for others to write) Finnegan's Wake.
     
  6. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Milton too became blind in age when he wrote most of Paradise Lost. Homer was according to tradition blind, but he had oral tales to go on (if that story is true).
     
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  7. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    So...I should vacate my eye sockets?
     
  8. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Really?
    The movie made it seem like he was deaf from the getgo... historically accurate my butt >.>
    Schools teaching kids with movies isn't a good idea apparently :(
     
  9. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Why don't you read more now?

    The more I write the more I want to see how other authors write.
     
  10. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    No, I think you can learn to be a good reader very easily so long as you try to become one. All it takes is patience, a lot of confidence, and a pinch of direction in my opinion.
     
  11. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    The same reason I stopped writing--due to time constraints. I've made an effort to get more time on my hands, but with lab work from nearly 8 to 5 everyday, along with being an office-bearer in two college societies, I am exhausted when I am back home (my activity these days is hardly representative, as I am on vacation for a day more :p). I did manage to form a habit of listening to audiobooks when I went on walks, and then during laboratory work, but it's not a permanent setting. Still, I did manage five novels since March, so I suppose I'm not completely hopeless. Btw, any good books off the bat I could easily get as audiobooks?

    Interesting choice of words. I was of course, being sarcastic.
     
  12. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Ah, sorry, I didn't pick up on sarcasm. :oops:
     
  13. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Well I'll open this by saying anything is possible. If you have a natural, intuitive way with words and story, then sure you could be a good writer, having read very little. That said, most of us are not natural born writers, and a large part of learning to write well comes from reading. When you read, you can consciously and subconsciously pick up on elements like pacing, conflict, and style. This becomes enhanced the more one studies craft. But I'd say it's pretty hard to even study writing without reading. One of my biggest setbacks is that I haven't been very well-read in good, modern American fiction.
     
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  14. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Work and family are things everyone has to deal with and schedule around. Hobbies - in this case, the societies - are a choice we make re: time spent. As to the infrequent reader = good writer - possibly, but frequent reader = better writer, definitely. So basically you need to set your priorities, and make time for those things you consider important.
     
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  15. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    Interesting. I guess the more pressing influence is as to how frequently one has read good stories, rather than fiction in general.

    Indeed, but of course I couldn't read the national library's worth anytime soon; I am somewhat constrained by my circumstances. Still, I'm hoping to make reading a regular hobby, even if I don't have much free time on a daily basis.
     
  16. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Solzhenitsyn (spelled it right on the first try!) wrote his first novel while imprisoned in a Soviet labor camp. He wrote the novel on scraps of paper, memorized it, and then destroyed the scraps so the guards wouldn't find out. If he can find time to write, so can you.
     
  17. Mike Hill
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    Mike Hill Natural born citizen of republic of Finland.

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    I think that every person has stories to tell. Person unable write any language in Africa might have great fictional and real life stories to tell. Then you just have to find a way to express yourself. I think that writing is easiest because it doesn't require a much of an budget.
     
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  18. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    Damn. Reminds me of the last Mughal Emperor Babar, he was imprisoned in Burma by the British once they overtook India. He spent his last days there writing poetry on scraps of paper.
    Anyway, I would say his virtue wasn't time management, but heightened use of cognitive faculties. :p
     
  19. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I'm spoiled. Our local library has so many unabridged audiobooks I can find anything I want. The biggest drawback is sometimes the readers are monotoned. But lately most new fiction comes out in audio about the same time it's published and the readers are getting better and better with the explosion in popularity.

    For me, I drive a lot for my work, a book in the CD player is a must.

    Not sure what your access is in Pakistan but if money is not an issue you can buy just about anything. And Kindle has both auto reader of text (it's hard to listen to) but you can also download actual audio books to Kindle or other tablet platforms.
     
  20. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    http://www.booksshouldbefree.com/

    Free audiobooks for downloading to multiple platforms. Lots of the classics, of course, as newer books are going to still be within the market realm.
     
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  21. qp83
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    qp83 Member

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    I dunno, but I wish! I'm one of those guys who find reading kinda boring but still like to make up stories and characters of my own. Unfortunately I struggle alot with writing, even with short forum posts like this one.

    I think I'm as tone deaf for writing as for singing(and most art forms).

    But who knows? I decided a few months back to challenge myself, to see if I can become a better writer (reason why I joined this forum). So recently I've begun forcing myself to read books, and not just to read them, but try to find patterns in the writing and 'copy' them and mold them into my own, however I'm still a bit lazy when it comes to this part, hehe...
     
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  22. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Also www.librivox.org is a good site if you want free audiobooks and texts.
     
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  23. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    I don't read as much books as i'd like, but i make up for that by browsing the internet. That doesn't really count, but it helps somewhat.
     
  24. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Yep! What goes in does come out (it may take some practice to be good though). I read the entire Inheritance Cycle (Eragon and so on) and my writing suffered for it because I picked up some bad habits. I learned some good ones too, but only after I learned to distinguish good from bad (something I'm still learning). Granted, good and bad is largely subjective, but there are some matters of craft that are rather standard. :p

    A "rule of thumb" might be to read more of what you want to right. I've read plenty of classic lit. and for a while I was using British conventions and somewhat outdated constructions.
     
  25. Mans
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    Mans Contributing Member

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    It dependents on the reader's talent. But whether or no she/he needs some experiences that studying book is the best.
     

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