Tag Archives: Reading

Writers Are Readers

By Terry C. Misfeldt

Writers have a tendency to also be avid readers. Yes, folks, writers are readers!

We read to explore new worlds without leaving the comfort of our favorite chair. We can cross the plains of America in a covered wagon with a cup of coffee and a doughnut in our hands. We can be enthralled in a steamy romance while lying on a beach blanket.

Why do we read? We get ideas for writing from reading what others have written. We can study character development. We can create exotic worlds from seeing how other authors develop their fantasy planets. We consider sentence length, grammar, punctuation, and style from the words in those published works.

Sure, we read for entertainment or knowledge and sometimes just for something to do. We find authors we love and crave their next book. For me those are writers like Kevin J. Anderson, Brian Herbert, James Lee Burke, and Jeff Shaara…each of whom writes for a different audience. Their work can be inspiring, and writers need to be inspired!

As writers, we also read to learn how other writers grab your attention and keep it as they develop a plot through various crises to a climax. Part of why we read involves a never-ending search for new authors whose work we will either love or despise. Those we dislike usually have but a chapter or two before they lose us.

And no writer wants to lose their readers…for whatever reason! So we read.

Tell Me a Story That Makes Me Tired the Next Morning

By Rhonda Strehlow

I read nearly every night before I go to sleep. It relaxes me, well, sometimes it does. Other times, it gets me riled up, excited, scared. Any time I find my emotions carrying me away, I write that author’s name down and track his/her other books. When an author stirs emotions in me, I become a fan.

Which leads me to the thesis of this blog:

Anais Nin said, “We don’t see things as they are. We see things as WE are.

Said differently, when we are writing we need to be aware of our biases, our strengths and our flaws. We cannot simply create characters that reflect us. That would be boring. We need to get into the heads of each of our characters and make them unique. We need to give them their own biases, strengths and flaws.

When we create characters, we need to make them multi-dimensional. If I’m reading a book and the protagonist is perfect, I quit reading. Why? I’m skeptical because I’ve never met a perfect person. Perfect people are boring and don’t deserve a book.

I want to root for my protagonist, but I also need to relate to him/her. I want to see her make mistakes and, I want understand why she makes them. Did she have indifferent parents? Was she bullied in school? Did she have to care for her siblings? Was she abandoned? Smothered?

What I’m saying is I want you to let me into her head. What motivates her? What scares her? Where do her quirks come from?

But, don’t dump it all on me at once. Tease me. Lead me on. Make me curious. Most of all, I want to care.

Make me want to read one more chapter at midnight because I won’t be able to sleep until I find out what happens next.