1. Fiona
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    Fiona Member

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    Do you read novels whilst writing your own story?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Fiona, Jan 5, 2011.

    I had a friend once tell me that when she writes, she has to engross herself in it entirely and cannot read books during this process. She says she thinks that people run the risk of being too influenced if they read whilst writing their own book.

    What do you think of this?

    For me, I love reading. I am obsessed with reading, to be honest - it's my biggest passion in life. Without a book to read I am like a bear with a sore head! Even when I am engrossed in writing my own novels, I always have to put time aside to read.

    Do you continue reading books whilst writing? Do you worry about being influenced? I'd love to know your thoughts.

    I don't think reading whilst I am writing influences me at all. I always try to stay fresh and aware of that type of thing.
     
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  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can read novels and other works while writing. However when editing no, I write in present tense often and struggle reading past tense when I am editing as I am constantly changing it in my head which ruins it for me.

    Everyone approaches things different and no I don't worry about being influenced if I think something can be applied to my plot that comes from somewhere else I use it.
     
  3. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    I might get fried for this but I don't change my habits at all. If I am reading a good book, I continue. If I am not, I don't go out of my way to start.

    Television influences me a lot more than books anyway. So as long as I set aside some time for some good TV each night, I'm okay. It's my source of info so I go with what's been proven to work with me. :)
     
  4. TricksterDizzy
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    TricksterDizzy Member

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    Personally, I don't... but everyone is different.

    However we all have things that get us writing. Me? I research every little thing that has to do with my novel. I went through a 1500 page dictionary on vampires once. Good times, good times.

    To me that is what inspires me the most, and helps me create. Also, I tend to read faerie tales and folklore and myths. I find they are simplistic enough to let my mind jump off, as the constrained detail of the novels make me obsess about them, and the folklore/myths/etc give me great ideas that I can run with.
     
  5. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I dont stop reading while writing, i am not afraid it will affect my writing. I think our way of writing is the summary of eveything we have read but in that way reading can only improve my writing, so i think its a good thing to keep on reading. I hope i explained myself. I mean if i cant stick to my own voice even though reading something else i dont think its actually MY voice im using.
     
  6. Clumsywordsmith
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    Clumsywordsmith Active Member

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    I tend to do whatever suits me at the time. If I'm entirely engrossed by my own writing, and have no desire to read, then I simply don't read. If I'm enjoying a good book and writing at the same time, then I continue to do so.
     
  7. jardpole
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    jardpole Member

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    I don't stop reading when i am writing a story. In the past it was happening to me also, unconsciously imitate the writing of the writer i was reading, but i believe it is a matter of time for a person to overcome this fact.
    I agree with Tesoro that "our way of writing is the summary of eveything we have read but in that way reading can only improve my writing"
     
  8. Angharad Denby-Ashe
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    Angharad Denby-Ashe Member

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    I would say it is always important to be conscience of how what you are reading will affect you. There are some books, like ones I know will consume my thoughts (that should be on my own work) with either a moral dilemma or a mystery, that I will avoid when writing. And of course it is important to know what influences you already have in your writing for originality's sake. If you are worried on that score, though, stick to non-fiction while writing.
     
  9. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    I've never thought about reading stories while writing one of my own. Maybe I have fewer books in my house to read, and most books I tend to use are either expensive or I have to walk miles to the nearest library to get one. Even though I do read one, it seems that it doesn't improve my writing because of the unfamiliar words. One thing I hate about reading books is that I have to have a dictionary when I stumble over a word I never heard. This is why I don't read books as I write my own stories.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i have... never had a reason not to... never even thought of not doing so...
     
  11. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well that's a strange theory. Yeah, I read whenever I want to read.
     
  12. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    I read like a freak.

    I don't think my stories are extremely derivative of what I'm reading, so I don't worry about lifting ideas. However, other writers certainly inspire me and I'll want to write more dialogue or get more crazy with my technology, magic, etc.

    I also love video games, and when I find that I'm playing or reading more than I'm writing and feel ashamed. I don't like the idea of being a creative person who just consumes the creative products of others. It feels losery to me and I wish I had started seriously writing years ago.
     
  13. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    Of course I do. I see no reason why not. However, I rarely read anyway.
     
  14. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I do exactly the same thing. Read a lot of books and play too many video games.
     
  15. natsuki
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    natsuki Active Member

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    I read novels while I write.

    But I wonder, if you're writing a novel, and you take a year to finish it, wouldn't you read for a year?
    I wouldn't be able to do it at all, reading keeps me sane and inspired.
     
  16. KP Williams
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    KP Williams Contributing Member

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    I don't read much anymore. I've become so incredibly satisfied with my own writing style that I can hardly stand another person's writing for the length of a novel. That might sound a little... I don't know, arrogant, maybe. But understand that it's just for the aforementioned reason: extreme satisfaction with the voice I've found. It's like settling for a single brownie when I could have a whole freshly baked cake. Why would I read someone else's fantasy when I can create my own, in the style I like? Or read one of my older stories? Contrary to many people I've seen on this site, I love reading my own writing. I'm my #1 fan. :D

    That said, even I get in the mood to read something new now and again. And even when I'm not in the mood, I might see something that just grabs my attention and commands me to read it. I'm not going to let an ongoing project take that rare, happy moment away from me. My writing isn't going anywhere without me, literally or figuratively.

    Also, here's a footnote just because I feel like adding it... I hate the word "whilst." Drives me insane whenever someone uses it. No idea why...
     
  17. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    It takes a few days or more to read a book. It can take anything from a few months to a number of years to write a novel. So I don't see how one book is going to influence your novel unless you consciously let it. Subconsciously we are all affected by what, and how much, we read.
    I'm always writing something. At the moment I'm writing two plays and a biography + whatever else comes into my head. If I stopped reading while I was writing, I'd never read anything.
     
  18. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    I feel I need to. Sometimes I got to escape my own story for a while when I've worked on it for too long. At other times I might re-read things that have previously inspired me, in order to dig up whatever motivated me to write it in the first place.
     
  19. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have to add that i actually started reading different genres on purpose while writing the current novel because i felt my vocabulary and voice needed some improvement. I realized i have read too much of the same genre the last years and the theme of my story needed a different perspective. they will still be my own words but this will make my vocabulary richer and change the way of expressing myself.
     
  20. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I don't see anything wrong with that to an extent. I mean, you certainly have to believe in your writing, enjoy it, and find it satisfying, etc. The only pitfall here is that if you want to become a successful, published author (and I don't know if you do) you are limiting yourself greatly by only reading your own stuff, and if you have a more elevated opinion of your writing than the rest of the world, limiting yourself certainly isn't going to do you any good.
     
  21. laciemn
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    laciemn Senior Member

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    I can't NOT read and write. I really can't write usually until I've read for at least 30 minutes, maybe to get my brain warmed up, inspired, etc.
     
  22. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    I read whenever I want to. To not read just because I'm writing a novel seems silly and crazy, especially considering how long it takes to write a novel.
     
  23. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree, i dont see any harm in that either. When i was younger i used to write all the time, i was writing on a really looooong story for years, and at some point rather than taking up a book i prefered looking through my fav parts of my own story because it gave me the feeling i wanted out of reading. and I agree that you have to be your own no.1 fan, everyone says you have to write the kind of book that you would want to read, but nobody has yet written :)
     
  24. laciemn
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    laciemn Senior Member

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    Me three..the corny, yet straight forward story telling in video games is something I'm fond of...But it's mostly about killing sh*t :cool:
     
  25. laciemn
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    laciemn Senior Member

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    It does sound self-satisfied and somewhat arrogant. How can you expect to improve with an attitude like that?
     

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