1. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Do you read while you write?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Wreybies, May 15, 2008.

    I am sure this thread is not original, but I can only do so much thread searching… :rolleyes:

    Do you read other works while you are in the writing process?

    I find that I cannot.

    When I go back to earlier portions of the given piece on which I am working, it becomes blaringly obvious to me what I was reading at the time that I wrote given sections. I have a terrible habit of aping style. Not plagiarizing, but definitely borrowing the flavor of the author’s writing style.

    Am I alone? :(:confused::(
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I always have at least one book I'm reading, usually more. But I don't think I'm particularly influenced by those in my writing.
     
  3. Rumpole40k
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    Rumpole40k Banned

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    I have found that when I am actively writing my personal reading drops to almost nothing and visa versa. This isn't a conscious choice, but it happens nevertheless.
     
  4. TenderHeart
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    TenderHeart Member

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    I do read while I write. It keeps me in the reader mindset that I need. I have found that if I get totally into what I am writing that I have more going on in my head than what I am putting to paper, so what sounds good to me is not good for someone who sits down and reads the piece.

    I have a bad habit of leaving out much needed information, just because it seems so obvious to me. I have to look at my work with a more detached method to see these mistakes and reading helps keep me in that mode.
     
  5. flashgordon
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    flashgordon Contributing Member

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    Yes, but I deal in nonfiction so it is essential. I don't know if I could if I were writing fiction.
     
  6. Crazy Ivan
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    Crazy Ivan Contributing Member

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    I'm always reading, and always writing, no exception. It has never before occurred to me that it is strange to read and write at the same time.

    Unless you meant literally at the same time, in which the results could be pretty entertaining. =P
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sure... always have done... why not?

    [but not simultaneously, as noted above ;-)]
     
  8. Gone Wishing
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    Gone Wishing Contributing Member

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    Not entirely. ;)

    Generally, I'm ok with doing both - reading something else can help distract me during moments of frustration and also fuel my creativity (I wouldn't be here now if it wasn't for 'Across the Nightingale Floor' by Lian Hearn).

    I do find that at certain times, during less inspiring moments of the story that I'm writing, I'll read back what I've written and see glaring elements of either another author or even a rhythm that mimics the music that I was listening to. It's quite annoying. :p
     
  9. ChimmyBear
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    ChimmyBear Contributing Member Contributor

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    Absolutely not....I simply can not read a novel, give it my full attention, and write creatively for myself...I am either too focused in one or the other. I have tried so many times to do both and it is just too distracting. :(
     
  10. Vertz
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    Vertz Member

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    I think that people tend to write like what they read no matter what. Not to say that we all copy every idea or writing style we see. It's more that what people read informs the way they write. That's not a bad thing, in my opinion. The more we read, the more we learn about the language, which, in turn, has the potential to create a stronger writer. We become a synthesis of everything, which, I find, is true of personal beliefs as well (parents, teachers, etc. influence and can potentially create something new).
     
  11. Brenda Keesal
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    Brenda Keesal Member

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    I am focused on screenwriting and when I'm in the middle of a project, have definitely noticed that I rarely feel like seeing a film. I think and dream about film all the time.. my mind needs life inspiration.

    While editing a film, I have noticed that when I leave the edit room, I find it hard to form sentences out loud, to speak coherently. It's as if all my organizational skills are used for the edit, and I'm left with my mouth hanging open, drooling disassociated words. You can imagine the sparkling conversation that ensues.
     
  12. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    My goodness! I don't THINK this has ever happened to me, and truthfully I'm surprised by the idea. I would hate it if I had to halt reading while working on something of my own. o_o

    That being said, I HAVE noticed that, if an idea in a work I'm reading intrigues me enough, I'll be tempted to incorporate something similar in my writing...this works well when I'm reading nonfiction, such as the numerous books I read on Great Lakes Indian culture, since that figures in my fiction, but when I'm reading other people's fiction, it's a bit of a struggle because I don't want to steal ideas. For example I just finished reading "The Golden Compass" and keep telling myself, "NO, don't give your characters daemons."

    That's a conscious process though, and fortunately I can stop myself from doing it. I'm not aware enough of other people's styles to know if I've ever unconsciously mimicked one. I HOPE I haven't.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    only if they just read one kind of writing... if you're an omnivorous reader, as i am, that's not likely to happen...
     
  14. feather
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    feather Member

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    I have a need to read a few books in my genre before I begin the writing process . My dialogue is weak, and though I don't want to emulate other authors, it gives me a bit of a boost to keep going over the dialogue.
    I read a lot during research, but when I'm actually putting pen to paper, I don't read for enjoyment until I'm finished the first draft.
     
  15. Vertz
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    Vertz Member

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    Also along the lines of what I'm saying. I also read a wide range, and I feel influenced by all that I read. I'm not saying that you'll copy one author or style, but that you'll pick out things that work for you or ways of writing that you like. You end up with something unique because you read.
     
  16. Crazy Ivan
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    Crazy Ivan Contributing Member

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    Not necessarily true. Just because you read a wide range doesn't mean you won't like one style more than another and unconsciously mimic it.
     
  17. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Perhaps I am oversensitive to choices in vocabulary and phrasing. I am a Linguist by education and I cannot help but pick apart the way different people construct their grammar and the basic building blocks they use for said construction. Even when reading published works, I cannot help but notice when the author's manner of writing, his/her voice, has changed through the course of a work and wonder what was happening during the writing process to change the phrasing and level of vocabulary.

    When I speak of borrowing style, I am not referring to anything so near-plagiarizing as actually borrowing ideas from a given piece of work, but more fundamentally borrowing the voice of the piece of work.
     
  18. fatbird33
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    fatbird33 Member

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    i find that i almost have to read while i write, because i'm just not motivated at all. movies help a lot. I'm a book geek so i have to be reading.
     
  19. Leaka
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    Leaka Creative Mettle

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    To the question, yes.
     
  20. Amor
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    Amor Member

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    I read while I write. I also listen to music at the same time, so there's major multi-tasking going on.

    Anyways, I'm still learning a lot about how to develop my own original style of writing, plot ideas, etc. I'm inspired by books that I read, and it helps to read them while I'm writing. I'm actually working on a story that was inspired by two books that I'm currently reading, plus the topic of an episode of Criminal Minds (looooove that show, by the way).
     
  21. Anomally
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    Anomally Member

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    I find that if I try to write during or even right after reading a Stephen King novel, I'll try to use what he does in my writing, to a lesser success. Only him though. I've tried it with other writers, Tolkien, J.K. Rowlings, Terry Pratchet, and none of their writing seems to "migrate" into my own.

    I do, however, have brief bouts of depression when trying to write and read another, well-established author at the same time, I often worry about how I could ever be as good as some of these people and how much my writing sucks compared to theirs. But I get over it eventually, and as I write more, I find that it's almost impossible to use another author's style, because I have my own.
     
  22. Leaka
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    Leaka Creative Mettle

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    I can write without looking at the screen or the paper.
     
  23. Crazy Ivan
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    Crazy Ivan Contributing Member

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    I...um...uh...what?

    Never mind, it's probably not worth it to hear the explanation...
     
  24. Leaka
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    Leaka Creative Mettle

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    I can look somewhere else and still spell something right.
    Its because the words are visualized inside my head already.
    I see words in my head.
     
  25. Crazy Ivan
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    Crazy Ivan Contributing Member

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    Yes, I deduced that, but the confusion resulted from wondering what, exactly, that had to do with reading other works while you are in the writing process.

    Which reminds me: I've never really thought about it, but maybe one could negate the copycat effect by reading a work in an utterly different genre than the story they are writing. For example, I'm reading A Short History of Nearly Everything- a lengthy non-fiction book about the science of, well, nearly everything- while writing a humorous action/fantasy/teenage life piece. There's not much room for overlap there.
     

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