If there is no reading, then there is no writing… If there is no good writing, then there isn’t any reading…
The defintion of good differs between people. What I feel determines a good book is that it causes someone to read the entire story. A great book causes you to be interested in reading. An amazing book, trilogy, or series causes someone to have a love of reading forever.
“There are books full of great writing that don’t have very good stories. Read sometimes for the story… don’t be like the book-snobs who won’t do that… But when you find a book that has both a good story and good words, treasure that book.” – Stephen King
Reading and writing will always be together, and need each other. Reading gives us a chance to learn how others write. Your favorite amazing novel that you loved reading could be your best example to teach you what you want to learn. Or there could be several books can can show you different parts on the best way to write a story, such as creating style, background, theme, framework, characters, dialogue, new worlds, etc. So it makes sense why so many authors (like Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling…) would recommend reading as much as you can. Ray Bradbury mentioned that his best education was reading an entire library. I’m sure it would be much difficult for us to read an entire library, especially one that continues to grow. There are some books that aren’t our cup of tea, but we also have to be open to reading some times out of our comfort zone too otherwise we might miss out on some great stories and learning experiences.
“Think of everything you have ever read, everything you have ever learned from holding a book in your hands and how that knowledge shaped you and made you who you are today. Looking back now on all those years, to when I first discovered books at the library, I see that I was simply falling in love. Day, after day, after glorious day, I was falling in love with books.” – Ray Bradury
By reading, we also help to grow our imagination. Explore new worlds, or our own with a unique perspective. One of my former English teachers (Mr. Hardin) told me once, “The reason to read isn’t to learn what it means to someone else, but to learn about yourself.” I found this every interesting to me because for so long I had learned, and continued even in college to analyze what I read to find meaning. At that point, I thought my teachers wanted me to explain what I thought the author had intended. Though I learned in college, that even some times the author doesn’t even realize certain things, because it was part of their subconscious or they just hadn’t thought of it before. What my teacher had told me, made me realize that my own experiences enhances any story that I read. We all have our own perspectives on how we see the world, the same thing happens when we read and when we write. Though we’re all part of the human condition so that’s why we’re drawn to certain ideas, and themes.
“Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power to that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared.” – J.K. Rowling
Yesterday, I started reading the last book of the Across The Universe trilogy, Shades of Earth. It just reminded me of the thrill of reading. There is just something about delving into the pages of a good new book that transports you to a whole new world. You get immersed so much into the story that time just seems to fly by, and then later you realize that you can’t put the book down but forced to when life gets in the way. The experience is similar but yet different when it comes to books in a series/trilogy beause each new book has something familiar but there are new elements flowing through it. When you finish a really good book, through reading and writing, you get this feeling like you’ve lived a mini-life with these characters. So sometimes you just have to sit and ponder what you read for a while before getting into a new book. Then before you know it, you’re reading another book.
“Do you know the feeling when you start reading a new book before the membrane of the last one has time to close behind you? You leave the previous book with ideas and themes– characters even– caught in the fibers of your clothes, and when you open the new book they are still with you. Well, it was like that.” – Diane Stterfield, The Thirteenth Tale
Then there is the sad fact, the unfinished books. Those books that you were interested in reading, or writing, but never finished. Though I usually make a determination to go back later and finish what ever books I haven’t finished. It just feels wrong to not finish a book.
I promise I will finish reading Shades of Earth, if not today then tomorrow. Beth Revis has done an amazing job writing her trilogy. Her books are a mixture of scifi, distopian, mystery, and romance rolled up into one. She is one of the few authors I’ve gotten a chance to meet in person, and hear her talk about writing and literature. It still amazes me to hear the stories about my favorite authors and what they dealt with to write their stories. It helps me to connect to them.
“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn’t happen much, though.” – J.D. Salinger
When I finish a book, I would love to be able to talk to the author about it. That’s why literary conferences, tours, interviews, and social networks give a wonderful experience to their fans. For they get an opportunity to have a bit closer connection to their favorite author. That connection can bring much more excitement to the world of reading and writing.
Reading isn’t the only thing that helps you learn how to write, but the process of writing. As I said before, the best way to improve in writing is to to continue writing, and being open to receiving postitive critical feedback. I want so much to write in my own style but still in capture the reader like my favorite authors. We, writers, have the power to: create, influence, persuade and inspire.
“This is what I love about novels – both reading them and writing them. They jump into the abyss to be with you where you are.” – John Green
We’re the spell caster, and it’s up to us to move the words on the page to enchant others, but first for most ourselves. They say that you have to love what you write, so others will love it too. I think it’s true. We have to remember the passion we have when we read, and when we write every day. So we don’t forget how much we have to work on our craft.
“Writing Tip: Find the truth in your story. It’s often far more interesting than fiction.” – Richard Castle
Even though Richard Castle is a fictional author, I find that he reveals every once and a while some really great advice and wisdom just as well as famous and local authors. We may hear all the advice, and read a lot of books, but it’s always up to each one of us to make that first step and continue on.