Thursday, May 30, 2013

How Has Writing Changed Your Reading?

I’ve discovered that writing has changed the way I enjoy a book that I am reading. The first thing I noticed was that I’ve started automatically line-editing. Not in any great detail, and not consciously, but I’m noticing sentence structure, point of view, and tense far more often than I used to. Especially when a much more famous author than I am is breaking the same rules I get taken to task for doing. Nice to know that. I guess it means I can experiment, someday, if I’m famous. At the least, perhaps it will mean that I will become a better writer and pay more attention when I am creating by the seat of my pants!

The other thing I’ve noticed, is that plot ideas often come bubbling up as I read. Not that I’m thinking of plagiarizing the work of someone else, but I can go off on a tangent while reading a descriptive passage, or a scene. They trigger ideas for something completely different that I might want to add to my list of plot ideas for someday. I now have more ideas than I will ever use in this short lifetime...which I suspect is better than the opposite...brain freeze.

I used to be speed reader, rushing through a book to get to the end to find out what happened, impatient with any delay. Now I find I can savor a good book, read it in small bites, enjoy putting it down so I can pick it up later and stretch out the reading pleasure. I don’t know if this is something that will pass, or stick with me, but I hope it will last. One advantage of my earlier speed reading however, is I could pick up the same book a time later, and find I still enjoyed it. I suspect I will still be able to appreciate a good book the second time around.

Has writing changed the way you approach at a book? Are you more critical, or do you just sit back and enjoy what a fellow writer has created? I would be interested to know.


The Dark Lady - February 2012
Housetrap - December 2012
Knight’s Bridge - March 2013
The Queen’s Pawn - April 2013
Dial M for Mudder - July 2013
House on Hollow Hill - Sept 2013


Big Mike said...

Since I started writing, I frankly have not had time to pick up a book, other than ones author friends asked for a critique. Something has to go when there's more to do than you have time.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

I am reading more and enjoying books more. I look at structure and logic. I've always read at a fast talking pace, so the editing comes naturally.

Currently My Sister's Keeper, by Jodi Picoult, is wrenching my gut. She's a genious at knowing human nature and being able to go from one point of view or one time period and be completely in that moment. I can't put it down, yet I worry that it will end and the next book won't come up to this one. I also recommend her recent novel, The Storyteller, just now dropping down in the Best Sellers' List after a long run.

TKToppin said...

Yep, I have to agree to all of that. So, ditto!!

Jude Johnson said...

Writing has ruined my leisure reading. I get frustrated with sloppy editing and poor syntax. I can't help but think, "And this was published by a major house? Pah!"
Still, I try to make time to read as much as I can and try to shut off the critical voices so the story takes over.

Wallace Cass Jr. said...

I have to echo what Big Mike said. I've been so preoccupied with my own writing that I don't have the time to read any outside stuff.

Big Mike said...

Same with me JJ. Amazing the poor quality control on products from the big houses. Even thought its painful, our publisher (Champagne Books) has editors not afraid to bleed a quart of blood on our MS.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Yvonne Hertzberger said...

I find that being a writer has, in some ways, diminished my ability to enjoy reading for pleasure. I see errors that I would not have noticed previously and have more difficulty suspending disbelief when things become less plausible.

Big Mike said...

Agree with ya Yvonne.

Think part of it is that we become addicted to the ability to shape and mode a story the way we like it to twist and turn. And where can we do that magic? When we create our own fictional world in our novels.

Michael Davis (
Author of the Year (2008 and 2009)
Award of Excellence (2012)

Nikki said...

As writer and editor, I find my pleasure in reading has both increased and decreased. I wince more at bad writing and poor editing, and I can barely stand to read the newspaper anymore.

Conversely, when I chance upon the good stuff (Jodi Picoult being one shining example), my pleasure is doubled because I know how hard it is to accomplish. I will read and re-read a passage for sheer joy.

Fortunately, both the bad and the good inspire me to work harder and teach me how to do better. So it's all good.

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Reading good contemporary writing has set me free to try things my teachers told me never to do. Because of Jodi Picoult, I am going to redo my memoir, dropping in the info where it's important and cutting the fat out.