1. Suffering-is-Beauty
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    Suffering-is-Beauty Member

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    I don't like to read

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Suffering-is-Beauty, Apr 25, 2013.

    So I was posting on a thread and I noticed how everyone says that you have to read a bunch of books to be a good writer. I don't like reading, and might read a book every year or two though I generally read George Orwell and the like when I do. unless you count philosophical and scientific articles, but as far as reading a story I'd rather wait for the movie. That said I love writing what I don't like reading. strange? am I alone? or are there other writers out there who don't like to read. Speak up and be heard or else I'm going to keep on believing that I am a special and unique snowflake and not the same decaying matter as the rest of you readers.;)
     
  2. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Writing without reading is working in a vacuum. How will you know what's been done, how it was done, how you would do it differently, if you have no idea what's out there? Movies? That's not the book. Those are another writer's (or team of writers) adaptation of the book, obviously without the prose that helped get it picked to be a movie.
     
  3. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    We've had several similar threads, started by folks who claim they don't like to read. What you'll probably get are a bunch of responses saying you should find what you like to read -- particularly within the genre that you like to write. If for no other reason, you need to be able to compare your story to others that are currently out there. (You mentioned earlier that you want to go to a conference that has agents attending. When you talk to an agent about your book, they want to know what current authors and books are out there that could be comparable to yours'.)

    If I've read the book, I almost always hate the movie.

    Again, you'll get a couple folks who agree with you, but the majority are going to disagree. My problem is more that I generally have enjoyed non-fiction more than I enjoy fiction, so I have to make a concerted effort to read novels. But I do it, and I can really appreciate the ones I like. My related problem is that my to-read pile is completely out of control.
     
  4. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    You are a special and unique snowflake, and while we may be decaying matter, we'll last longer than you will when you land on a hot engine block. ;)

    It's hard for me to fit into my head the idea of wanting to write but not wanting to read. It's like practicing piano for years, three hours a day, but not liking music.

    It's a bit odd that you say you love writing what you don't like reading. You'd crawl a mile, naked, over broken glass, to avoid consuming what you love to produce. You'd make an interesting character in one of my stories if I could ever figure you out!
     
  5. Nee
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    Nee Contributing Member

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    You MUST read fiction (lots of it) if you wish to write good fiction. Movies use imagery to tell the story; writing uses words. How are you to learn the general techniques for using words to implant ideas and images into peoples heads without reading? You can use books on CD or MP3 to boost the number of books you read but still, you are going to need to see how great authors use words, so you'll still need to read. I read over 120 novels a year. Okay, over half of those are in audio form--but I make a point to get the novels that really impress me in print, so that I can go over the significant writing parts to deconstruct them to see how they tick.

    I hope you are not the next person to come here just to argue about how you should be able to become an author without having to read if you want to...Which of course, you cam do if you want.

    Not that many will want to read them, however.
     
  6. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    Sorry to say, you will have to read books to become a good writer. That's like wanting to become an actor or director but deciding not to see many films - you learn from each experience, be that a book or a film (books, in your case).
     
  7. Stukov
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    Stukov Member

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    Yep, pretty much echoing everyone else's sentiments here. Over the years I've heard lots of advice from published authors and other such respectable writers, all of them said the same thing; the more you read, the better you write. And from my own personal experience I'd have to agree with them.

    That's not to say that you can't write if you don't read. But I can't imagine any possible scenario where reading wouldn't improve your skills, so it's absolutely worth it.
     
  8. Suffering-is-Beauty
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    Suffering-is-Beauty Member

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    I love that, just saying.

    I'm not trying to start an argument or debate so don't start arguing, just merely commenting on a fact that I realized that I don't read, which I only realized because I see that everyone seems to read so much on this site.

    No I'm not trying to say that I'm going to be the odd ball author that doesn't read. Perhaps its just that I haven't encountered any good books as of late. Let me rephrase my statement and ask a question.

    I don't like to read very often, but when I do I read books like 1964(or 84 I never remember), All quiet on the western front, catcher in the rye and all the older books my dad recommended. So my question then is what books might you recommend me read that aren't fan fiction?
     
  9. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    It's 1984. Actually, it's Nineteen Eighty-Four. If you like those kinds of books, check out Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and We by Yevgeny Zamyatin.
     
  10. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's 1984.

    It seems you like Twentieth Century Classical literature -- although there's quite a broad range between that and fan fiction. I don't think most fan fiction is even available in published book form (FSOG notwithstanding). What is it about Western Front and Catcher that you liked? Have you read Salinger's other books? Holden's prep school mid century experience is different from that of the German soliders in WWI. And of course, 1984's dystopian society is different still from both of those. Have you read Gatsby? How about any other Fitzgerald or Hemingway? Animal Farm? Fahrenheit 451? Catch 22?
     
  11. Suffering-is-Beauty
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    Suffering-is-Beauty Member

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    animal farm was one of the best books my school ever made us read. I realize now that I should have put this in book discussion, but I wasn't really thinking when I posted this originally. I'll have to check some of these titles out. perhaps I am not lost to the engine block just yet.

    oh and chicagoliz- I read most of what your talking about when I was in middle school, but might be interesting to see how my view has changed.
     
  12. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that's a good idea, because your views can change. There's also a lot of good contemporary fiction. I think, though, that I saw you are writing sci fi dystopian type stuff? You should probably try to read some current books in that genre, too. I don't read much in that genre, so I don't have any recommendations, but I'm sure a lot of folks here would have some.
     
  13. Suffering-is-Beauty
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    Suffering-is-Beauty Member

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    Yeah its a dystopian style book. food for thought. Finals are almost here so maybe I'll pick up a few books this summer.
     
  14. mbinks89
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    mbinks89 Active Member

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    You HAVE to read to be a good writer. And no, this doesn't include articles, unless you only want to write articles. By all means, read articles, they make you more knowledgeable. But if you don't read fiction, don't expect to write good fiction. No exceptions.
     
  15. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    It IS strange, but you're NOT alone. I hate reading. I try, and make it through roughly 1 book a year, although I start a fair few but get bored after not very long. Reading certainly helps but it's not essential. As I've said before, people who build race cars generally don't race. There are exceptions. I am an exception. I'm published, produced, and have a few little awards under my belt, so I wouldn't worry at all about the 'you have to read' mantra most people will give. They have to read, others don't. But I will never argue that it doesn't help. Of coarse it helps. It's just not essential to everyone.
     
  16. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've been trying to rephrase my response to this so that it doesn't sound snarky. I've failed, so I'll just say it, with apologies if it is snarky: This sounds to me a little bit like, "...what food might you recommend me eat that aren't packaged snack cakes?"

    In other words, there's a _huge_ (huge enormous huge practically infinite huge did I mention huge?) range of fiction between American dystopian classics, and fan fiction. If those are the only things that you've read, I'm not surprised that you haven't read much - there aren't _that_ many classics, and fan fiction, well, I'm not a fan of it either.

    I'm going to randomly choose some authors that I love, largely avoiding authors of classics because lists of those can be found easily. These are authors that I like because of their writing as well as everything else about their books, as opposed to authors that I like because of their plots and characters but that I find to have merely adequate writing. Though I should emphasize that I like clean, plain writing, and my favorite authors tend to also be journalists.

    - Rumer Godden.
    - Roald Dahl. Yes, he's a children's author, but IMO that doesn't matter.
    - Calvin Trillin. There are the books of short funny pieces, like _American Fried_, and there's the much more serious stuff, like _Remembering Denny_.
    - Dorothy Sayers. Classic mystery.
    - Josephine Tey. Classic mystery.
    - Robert Barnard. Modern mystery/satire.
    - Georgette Heyer. More classic mystery.
    - Henry Mitchell, if you like gardening and maybe even if you don't. (Nonfiction, about gardening.)
    - Ludwig Bemelman
    - Margaret Visser
    - Linda Grant
    - Betsy Lerner

    I'm getting too lazy to describe their work even briefly, so I should stop here. :)
     
  17. Anthelionryu
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    Anthelionryu Member

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    I think we may be soul brothers. :) I'm also not much of a reader and 1984 is one of my (few) favorites.

    I'll say it like this; UNFORTUNATELY I was raised in front of a boob tube and didn't gain an appreciation for books until... well... last year. Despite this fact I know I communicate well in written form. Last year is about the time I realized I enjoy writing for recreation.

    I've oft been told that reading and writing must go hand in hand but I'm not so sure because I know that I have a certain natural ability to write well... maybe not be great but definitely good. Even so, I know I have much to learn... this has become even more obvious to me since I joined this forum a week ago. There is a lot of wisdom here.

    All that said, just because I communicate well doesn't mean I can write a story that will hold someones interest for an entire novel. And for that reason I force myself to read books by authors that have been successful at selling lots of them. I agree with what the others here have said regarding learning from the writing of others and I push myself every day to do just that. Well, it's really more of a nudge... but still. ;)
     
  18. jeepea
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    jeepea Member

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    These posts about wanting to write but not liking to read make me feel sad.

    There's something very leech-like to not engage in and promote the very thing that you want other people to do. A writer should be an ambassador for reading. Fewer and fewer people pick up a book every year and to shrug your shoulders as a writer and say 'I don't read either', well, that's just wrong.
     
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  19. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    Me, personally? I like to read. I'm a slow reader, so it makes it more difficult. I would like to pose a different point of view, though.

    Do chefs like to cook when they go home?
    Do doctors/ lawyers like to give diagnoses/ advice on the golf course?

    Probably not. However, to remain at the top of their game, they must research, experiment, take continuing education classes, etc.
     
  20. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    I don't want to write. It's tedius and time consuming and frustrating. I need to write. It's an addiction that turns to despair if it isn't fed constantly.
     
  21. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    The analogy doesn't work - it's backwards. A chef doesn't want to cook when he goes home, but he does want to eat. A writer doesn't want to write when he's done his day's work, but he does want to read.
     
  22. Suffering-is-Beauty
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    Suffering-is-Beauty Member

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    I did like the golf course analogy though.
     
  23. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    Actually, I can tell you first hand, food is the last thing on a chef's mind. Drinking on the other hand.....
     
  24. ARDD
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    ARDD Member

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    If nothing else you need to read to make sure you're writing isn't riddled with cliches. Whatever genre you want to write you should at least read the top writers n that genre. It's easy for me to say that because I love to read, maybe you should ease yourself into it and compromise with a few audiobooks.
     
  25. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    The chief purpose of reading widely is to expand your knowledge of what makes good books good and bad books bad, and why you like certain books and not others. Such knowledge will greatly assist your craft. At the very least, aim to read the best authors in your genre (in your opinion or that of critics) and a few of the worst so you can see what separates the two, and how different authors handle different situations. For instance, if your genre is historical fiction then take a butcher's at Conn Iggulden and Robert Low at one end, and, say, Jen Black at the other (sorry Jen). You will learn a lot more from examining them with a critical eye than you ever could on your own.

    I like you am not a natural reader; however, it's like bodybuilding. Once you see the change in your own work that comes from wide reading, you'll be hooked.
     

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