1. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    Is This Strange?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by AnonyMouse, Jan 18, 2009.

    Same here, man. I think it is strange, but I don't care. I've read so many books that I felt were a total waste of my time (I won't name names, so don't ask) that I am now very reluctant to pick up a book. And I usually can't get more than a few pages into one without wanting to write something of my own.
     
  2. Noodleguy
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    Noodleguy Senior Member

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    Hmmm, I think that's quite unusual. Usually the two go hand in hand. I read incessently. I can't imagine learning to write well without reading, really.

    What is it that you don't like about reading, Minds?
     
  3. Holliemouse
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    Holliemouse Member

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    I have only read a few books which i have sat up reading till the early hours dying to know what happens in the end. i find many books do not totally consume me till at least the fifth chapter. Others i hate all the way through and wonder how they were ever published. I love stories of real heartache i end up blubbering into the pages hoping against hope they make it through ok.

    My writing has improved through reading and my poor library card gets a battering most weeks. Some books go back in a few days but others i read over and over again as i have loved them so much.Though the charges which follow the late arrivals i do not like as much!

    I dont think your strange but perhaps you just havent found a book which really gets into your heart and mind x
     
  4. Noodleguy
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    Noodleguy Senior Member

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    Well, that's probably your problem. High school teachers have been hand-feeding the same exact novels to their students for decades.

    What you need to do is, think about what kind of genre you like to write in. Then go and try and find books similar to that to read. I know, that's the opposite of the usual formula (write what you read) but maybe it could work for you! I'm pretty confident that there is something out there you would like. It's just that the stuff in schools is crap. Broaden your horizons and maybe you'll find an author you enjoy. But it's hard to imagine someone with the 'writer's malady' who doesn't enjoy reading something!
     
  5. Plushii
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    Plushii Member

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    I'm the same way. I know why though. For me, it has to do with being in control. When I read, I have no control over what is going to happen, and that bothers me. Yet when I write, I have control over everything.

    The simple reason of control is also why I prefer video games over movies. In a movie, I have no control. But in a video game, I have control.

    With that aside, I have read a few books that have really engrossed me. So far, the only author to really truly engross in me in a book is Jodi Picoult, and a few of Stephen King's books, mainly Delores Clayborne (not sure if I spelled that right...), The Green Mile, and Misery. Though I have read a few other books that have really pulled me in, like Flowers for Algernon.

    You just need to find out what kinds of things you enjoy, and find books based off of that. :3
     
  6. Mello
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    Mello Member

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    I used to like to write but not read. Since I have started reading again, I feel that I'm a much better writer than before. I can't really tell you what to read or how to start reading again, you have to find out on your own, but you should seriously start. In the long run, you just can't do without it.
     
  7. ConnorMack
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    ConnorMack Member

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    I'm the same way. It's not that I don't like reading, trust me, if I like a story I'll read it like a madman. It's just that when I read, my mind starts to wander, and I can't concentrate on the piece. If I force myself to start reading, than I absorb the words, not the story itself. I hope that makes sense.
     
  8. Mello
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    Mello Member

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    at one point my mind wandered so much while reading that I had to take a pencil and underline major plot points. That's so pitiful, right? I don't know why I wandered that badly, I think I just got addicted to other things besides reading and wasn't giving it enough respect. It's funny that someone brought this up cuz today I was just wondering if anyone had the same problem I did.
     
  9. mmorsepfd
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    mmorsepfd Member

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    Thats kind of like enjoying eating but not cooking. One of these days you'll run out of technique, ideas and inspiration and your writing will suffer and be bland.
     
  10. mmorsepfd
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    mmorsepfd Member

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    Worry not, you can always find somebody to cook for you! Even if you have to go out to eat.

    I never read any of the required reading when I was in HS but managed about a book a week of things I enjoyed. If you like to write, there is something out there for you, you have just not found it yet.

    Keep reading!
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sounds backwards to me... if one doesn't like to read, but wants to write, it's like wanting to cook, when one doesn't like to eat...

    and just as if you don't eat what others cook, you can't learn to be a good cook yourself, if you don't read, you can't learn to write well... all good writers were/are good readers...
     
  12. mmorsepfd
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    mmorsepfd Member

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    I had a feeling there was some twisted logic in there, thanks mammamia for untwisting it.
     
  13. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think it's unual, but the reality is that you're not likely to get anywhere with your writing beyond personal pleasure if you don't read. Reading is how you learn to be a good writer.

    What you need to do is find something that is totally unlike anything any teacher would ever give you. Often teachers are unfortunately somewhat narrowminded about the kinds of books they think are suitable for studying.
     
  14. Trojan
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    Trojan Member

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    At the moment it's kind of the same for me. I used to be big on reading but have slipped out of it now, however my writing has picked up more. Maybe my writing would get better if I started reading again... hmm, never know unless I try.
     
  15. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    Inspiration is everywhere and technique comes from within. I fail to see how not reading will exhaust either of those resources. I can read over my own work and see new avenues to be taken. I find it difficult to read someone else's writing without my mind returning to my own work. Why should I force myself to sit through that when I could be writing?

    You're missing one important point. Sometimes a person becomes a "cook" because they don't like the "food" that is available to them. If I had found what I wanted -- exactly what I wanted, perfect in every way -- I wouldn't be writing. Why should I try to tell my story, in my own words, if someone else has already completely satisfied my needs?

    Don't get me wrong. I've read good books. I've seen good movies. But there's always something missing; something not quite right. That's why I write. Why quest for the Holy Grail when I can forge one myself? And I invite others to do the same. If you don't like what you see, put the book down and start writing.

    Writing is how you learn to be a good writer. If you enjoy reading, that's fine, but don't act as if it's a mandatory prerequisite. Anyone with an open mind and a careful eye can see their own flaws without having to look to other's writing. That's also what proofreaders and critics are for. Using others' writing for the purposes you say is a form of piggybacking. There's nothing wrong with doing that, but it is not absolutely necessary. It's perfectly fine for someone to become a writer -- a great writer if all goes well -- without standing on the shoulders of all who came before him/her.
     
  16. Noodleguy
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    Noodleguy Senior Member

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    To some extent. There is no way you can be a great writer without writing incessantly. And the more you write, the better you will get. All those things are true.

    But in order to be a truly great writer, it is above all necessary that you have an instinct for proper construction, for style, and for grammar. There's just no better way to learn that instinct than by reading. Not to mention all the neat little tips and tricks you pick up from the Masters. Trying to teach yourself to write is like re-inventing the wheel. It's possible, but why would you do it?

    Not to mention that I do not know of a single great writer who was not an incessant reader as a child. It actually makes reading author's biographies tedious. They are all the same: they all read basically the entire public library as youths. The two simply go hand in hand together, it seems.
     
  17. Sabreur
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    Sabreur Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, it seems a biography of myself and a biography of a famous writer would differ in only a few ways.

    We both read the ENTIRE public library as children.

    The difference? They became famous and I didn't ;)
     
  18. mmorsepfd
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    mmorsepfd Member

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    If you don't need to read to be happy with your writing write on! However, if you find that your writing is going nowhere and you just can't get to a higher lever the cure is right in front of you.
     
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  19. Noodleguy
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    Noodleguy Senior Member

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    Ha, me too! And my elementary school library...and my middle school library...and my high school library. But when I got to college the challenge became a bit too daunting I am afraid. Seeing as Rhush Rhees Library has access to pretty much every book in existence in several languages thanks to the college library loan system...

    Eh, you never know, we could all get famous at any time. Except that I don't have anything published. So it's unlikely. But someday!
     
  20. Sabreur
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    Sabreur Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, I'm not even in college yet so maybe I still got a ways to go until I'm famous. Hope springs eternal, as they say!
     
  21. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    It is actually required. How can you expect to do anything well if you never observe how it's done? Take a look at early films that were made by people who hadn't been able to watch them growing up. Those people were stumbling along to figure out how it works. Do you really want to stumble along and hope that you find something good? By reading, you see what others do that works, what doesn't, and how to do it. If you never read, how do you expect to learn those things. As well, you expose yourself to different ways of doing things, you absorb techniques and styles and combine those to create your own voice.
     
  22. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Great analogy mammamaia...
     
  23. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    First I must say that I love reading.

    All the published successful writers say read, read, and read some more. I must trust that they know what they are talking about. If you become a successful published writer with out reading much, then by all means give me this advice again and I shall share it with others, but I will still read because I enjoy it.
     
  24. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I love to read, but I can't find much fantasy fiction that I like to read. I write the kind of fantasy fiction I'd like to read because I can't find that type out there anywhere! (I'm not saying it doesn't exist, just that whenever I pick up a fantasy book, it's usually not what I care for.) So...in a tiny way I know the feeling, but I can't imagine wanting to write without wanting to read AT ALL.

    And one learns to write mainly from writing, but also from reading. You can't easily learn how something is done without seeing someone else do it right first.

    That's also what proofreaders and critics are for.

    If one's writing is so great without having to read other people's work, then why would one need proofreaders and critics...? Shouldn't they be able to see such flaws? Unless their work isn't nearly as great as they'd thought...

    Relying on critics and proofreaders to fix the errors one could have avoided through reading others' work seems more like "piggybacking" to me.
     
  25. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ouch. You make it sound as if I've never read a book before. C'mon, give me more credit than that. I'm simply saying it's not necessary to be a regular reader or to enjoy reading to be a writer. I don't have to devour a library or go through a book a day to be a writer.

    I never said my writing is great. And I certainly don't just throw words on a page and let someone else clean up the mess. That would be piggybacking, not to mention just plain lazy. Also, I'm capable of seeing whatever flaws they can see. It may take longer; I may have to distance myself from the work for a while to gain their perspective; but it's not impossible for me to be my own reader, proofreader, and critic. I often look back on my old work and see room for improvement and that insight comes without input from any other person's writing.
     

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