Wednesday, February 1, 2017

How Writing Changed the Way I Read #IWSG #writinglife

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day.
The Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

IWSG Asks: How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader? 

There was a time in my life when I could read a 300 page book in a day. I'd absorb every word, engrossed in the tale the author wove in my head, morphing myself into the main character to experience all the wonderful and often life-threatening adventures and if it was a romance, falling head over heels in love with the hero.

Then I started to study the craft of writing. I began to learn how those authors wove those fantastical tales.

I learned how a writer writes.

Instead of reading to lose myself into a book, I began studying the placement of those words, learning how the author created a world where the reader could find those adventures. I learned why they chose to reveal certain characteristics and events at the times they did. How they created the descriptions for the settings and the people in their stories. I discovered how plots work and all the intricacies involved with back story, foreshadowing, hero's journeys and 3-act structures.

Essentially, I'll never read books in the same way ever again.

Now, when I read a book its with a critical editor-like eye. Every story I read has become a textbook for the craft of novel writing. I learn what the author does that makes the story work, but what's worse is that I see the mistakes the author makes, too!

I've begun to anticipate certain actions and plot-points to the point where I can predict what will
happen next (which ruins a mystery, believe you me!). Sometimes I catch grammar mistakes that make it past all those people in the process of creating a book and I cross my fingers with hope that I don't have any of those in my books. Sometimes the author's words don't grip me with that magical wonderment that I had before and no matter how I try, I can't lose myself into the story. I see too much that pulls me out of it. I uncover character faults, badly written dialogue, and head-hopping POV.

Who knew head-hopping point-of-view could be so distracting?! It never bothered me before and now I can't stand it!

Now, that I've learned and practiced how to read a novel from a writer's perspective, its extremely difficult to turn off that mini-editor in my head. I'd love to slap a hand over her mouth to shut her up so that I can finally enjoy losing myself into a novel again, even a badly written one. The pleasure that reading brings is one of the reasons I started off on this path in the first place. However, I'm still learning with every book I read. Whether its written by a bestselling author or someone who is newly published, I'm still learning about the writing craft. And I sincerely hope that reading those books helps my own writing abilities grow.

It's difficult being a writer! Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

I have list of my favorite authors, the ones that I'm able to lose myself in their stories that keep my internal editor on a leash, and I've put them on my automatic to-buy list. To my extreme sorrow, I hesitate to read new-to-me authors these days. But, that doesn't mean I give up on them. It's one of the reasons that I think book reviews are so important. Those reviews give readers a chance to find out if that author and story is a right fit for them. I read a lot of book blogs and review sites. I chat with people on Facebook and Twitter to discover new authors. And I absolutely love Goodreads! So many great groups on there all dedicated to books. Also, I love reading anthologies. Often, I'll buy an anthology for one of my favorite authors, but those short stories give me a taste of a new-to-me author's writing style. I recently got hooked on a couple of new favorite authors by reading Holly and Hopeful Hearts by Bluestocking Belles this winter.  

As a thank you to those fantastic authors, for their talent and hard-work, I started writing reviews. I also want to help fellow readers find those valuable reading gems that are able to magically sweep them off their feet and into another world. I hope to help readers find great books to read, and I hope to help authors find those very special readers. Really, book reviewing feels just like an extension of my old day job as a bookseller. Instead of speaking to a reader face-to-face to tell them what kinds of books are sitting on our bookstore shelves, its the review that helps lead them to virtual bookshelves. And if I can help readers find a way to escape into another world for a short time, with either my own books or another author's books, then I feel very good indeed.

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Happy Reading!


  1. Amen Tricia. The adventure of reading is a beautiful thing. Share on!

  2. It's crazy how much our reading changes once we write, isn't it?

  3. We're on the same page. Hard not to read with a critical eye. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  4. I've just realized the value to reviewing books and I'm ashamed it took releasing a book to discover this! My goal this year is to review many books. It's great you're doing so to help authors. :) Christy