Reading to Become a Writer

There are times when I visit Barnes and Noble or Borders and browse around the store to see books that might pique my interest to purchase. However, my trip to the bookstore was a little different. I wrote a movie review post about The Jane Austen Book Club and decided to read the book. I usually do not read the book after seeing the movie, but the book is always better than the movie as not everything from the written word is captured in the movie. However, I get a better connection reading the book than viewing the movie. Reading is a personal journal as you can become more focused on the characters in the story and better understand the theme(s) that author is attempting to convey.

In the past few years, I haven’t read any fiction due to finishing college, but enjoy reading for knowledge and pleasure. I had a discussion with a friend of mine the other day who is adamant about not re-reading books and told him that although you may have read the book 20 years ago your perspective about life has changed. However, he doesn’t understand it’s more just reading a story, but what you get from it and how does it relate to your life. Some people do think of fiction as story that’s not true, but tend to miss the point truth in the fiction. Of course the story and the characters do not exist, but if one thought about have you ever met someone like Attius Finch in your life who possess this great moral compass and an understanding about human nature.

Fiction is about someone we know, or perhaps identify a character that’s within ourselves. More importantly, fiction always has something about the human condition or human nature. Isn’t why we can profoundly relate to the character in the story? I recall an interview with Toni Morrison told the interviewee that she wanted to read a story that she has not read and that’s what drove her to become a writer. I suppose there is some truth to writing a story that haven’t read and having the old adage in mind of writing about what you know can have that ring of truth even if one created a story that isn’t true.

Reading is essential to becoming a writer as you can learn different writing styles.  It’s a good idea to read outside you genre, for example, if you read romance novels, then read mystery or science fiction novels.  I tried to read different authors and genres such as reading Jose Saramago or Zadie Smith.  Reading African and Indian writers to give you a different perspective of how other people live in other parts of the world to give you some inspiration.  Reading can open the door to us writing something wonderful.


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