1. wilprim
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    wilprim Member

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    Reading while building writing

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by wilprim, Mar 3, 2012.

    I know there was a recent post addressing the issues of reading while trying to write a novel, but I would like to know if there is a problem with reading while you are just building your writing skills? I am not working on a novel right now, however; I am writing short stories constantly just trying to become a better writer. Would reading books be bad while doing this or good?
     
  2. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Good, you can and will learn a lot about writing by reading frequently. I'm curious of how you're thinking though, why did you think it would be bad?
     
  3. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    Depends, as long as one doesn't interfere with the other, it doesn't really matter does it. I'll read a book a day when I can. It never cause me a problem. Part of that maybe the subject matter, storyline or theme was so different.
     
  4. Foxe
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    Foxe Active Member

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    I think it's neither good nor bad. If you want to read, nothing should stop you. Same with watching films; there's always something influencing you and if it's not what you read, it's what you watch, experience, over-hear, observe, etc.
     
  5. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you're writing purely to improve your skills then I think that this is the time when reading other's work is the most influential.

    Also, I don't see how writing short stories will be useful practice if you intend to write novels once you're "a better writer" - they're two different crafts.
     
  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Read. Read. Read. The minor risk that you'll unconsciously imitate an author that you're reading is drastically outweighed by the value of reading.

    In fact, unconsciously imitating a bunch of different authors is probably good for your writing; it might pull you out of habits and drive you to try a variety of different techniques and styles, expanding your skills. So the only thing I might suggest would be to change authors every couple of books, rather than reading each author's body of work from beginning to end so that you're influenced only by that one author for months at a time.

    ChickenFreak
     
  7. wilprim
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    wilprim Member

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    I don't really think it would be a bad idea, its just that I have heard from some that it might hurt my own "voice." It is hard though because I love to read! :D
     
  8. colorthemap
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    colorthemap Contributing Member

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    Reading now will not hurt your voice any more than reading before in your life. For the entirety of your reading life you have collected an archive of what you like and what you don't, what you subconscious does is convert that into your own writing. Each time you read you assimilate(sorry just wanted to use that word) more information into your voice. Now you would think reading more would make your voice less yours but that is not true. It will tweak your voice into something more crafty but your overall style will stay the same.

    If you are really afraid of this though and still want to read, the best thing you can do is read a variety as to not become too similar to the inner workings of one type, genre, or style.
     
  9. Mark_Archibald
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    Mark_Archibald Active Member

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    Right now I'm reading a novel for an experienced reader. Lots of big words, lots of boring sections, and you need a fine appreciation for literature to get through the 950 pages.

    My writing style, by design, can be read by somebody as young as 13. After putting this book down than going back to my work, I find it much easier to put my thoughts on paper. After reading at a high level, writing at a low level is a breeze.

    That's just what works for me.
     
  10. Gilborn
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    Gilborn Member

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    I find reading always helps to motivate myself into writing when I'm stuck. The worst case scenario is you mimic some of your favorite writes, which you most likely do already.
     
  11. Carthonn
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    Carthonn Active Member

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    I agree with Gilborn. Reading helps me when I'm stalled. It can give you that slight push to get that spinning tire out of the muck. However, I do believe it depends on what you read. I need something satisfying and inspiring. In short, Jim Butcher is not going to cut it :)
     
  12. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    This is what I would have written if it hadn't already been said... :)
     
  13. Agent Vatani
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    Agent Vatani Active Member

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    The words were taken right out of my mouth.
     
  14. sharonwagoner
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    sharonwagoner Member

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    In advanced art classes, the teacher often had us purposely copy and analyze other art styles. Once we have mastered a number of styles, we have the tools to develop our own style. I think this would apply to writing also, as has been said by others here.
     
  15. Gilborn
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    Gilborn Member

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    This is a great point and well put.
     

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