I recently was asked what it means to read like a writer. This question enticed me to do some digging. Being a book-blogger, how I read a book and how I choose to write about it all depends on how the book speaks to its readers and how I can interpret that into a text for my readers.
When I read for leisure, even as a fellow writer, I drive into the story and see where it takes me. I spend little time dwelling on the structure of the text and more on the entertainment it provides me. The books I enjoy are ones that leave me turning pages because of character and plot development, and the sensibility the words bring to the story.
Reading like a writer requires the attention to the technique of the writing and if the message of the story is effective or not. I sometimes wonder if the technique and structure the writer has used would be the same way I would choose to tell my story. I think about a specific instance in the story and study it. I try to experience the story most a reader but as a writer by applying my story with the same technique and ask myself if it would lead my reader tot he most valuable outcome of the text I am forming.
I spend a lot of time looking for an error in the text when I read like a writer. To me reading what doesn’t work in a text helps to remove error in other texts. If I see something in a story that doesn’t make sense or doesn’t lead to a clear answer, I make a short list in my mind as a reference in my own writing.
Reading like a writer helps me when I write my story when I think about what the reader is going to receive from my story. Based on what I receive from a story I read helps me discover with my own story that my reader may receive something entirely different.
As a college graduate with a BA in English Literature, I know that reading like a reader, reading like a writer and reading like a scholar are three different types of reading. Analyzing a text in a literature classroom or as a stand-alone scholar is different than how a writer would read the same text. A scholar will spend a lot of the time examining the text next to the other texts of it’s time, history books and critic pieces to entirely examine the work and make a scholarly interpretation of it.
Writing my own book requires as much help and as much reading-experience I can possibly get. I could read 100 books a month and still not have learned everything there is to know how to write a book that is effective, clear and a pleasure to read.