As writers, one of the things we need to do is read voraciously. There are so many reasons to read:
- To know what readers like. What’s got them grabbing books? Why does that title resonate with them?
- To see what works and doesn’t work. It’s often as I’m reading that I think “oh, I want to write like that.” Or “that character really works for me. I wonder why?”
- To analyze plot. Pull apart the best sellers. You may not have to do a spreadsheet like I do, but proactively think about why a particular book works. How are the plots woven together? How do the characters support or detract from each other? Etc.
- To pick up nuances and emotions. How does this author pull you in? Or why doesn’t it work? What stops you versus what keeps the pages flying?
What that means today is that I have a pile of Christian fiction I am itching to read. There’s a pile of it! But I’m reading three books from a WWII mystery series I feel behind on. I’m reading a couple Lisa Scottoline books. All for the purpose of studying what makes these books resonate with readers. What can I learn from them? I’ll probably pull out a Lisa Gardner book or two as well. As writers we have to embrace the process of reading to learn and improve our craft.
How do you grow your craft?
And as readers, do you think about these questions?