Reading as a Writer

I often find myself wondering if the way I read is different from my friends and family who are not writers. I put off posting this for a while because I don’t want to come off as  elitist or suggesting that you have to be a writer to understand how an author crafts a story, but I can’t help but notice the way I study a book while I’m reading it. While I have focused my professional writing on articles, online content and reviews, the desire to write (and eventually publish) fiction is still there. I love trying to piece together how a book was written, why a scene was important or why a character talks a certain way. It all adds to the story for me.

The great thing about reading is that we can all pull messages out of a story, but do people who have no interest or background in writing (or I suppose literary theory) study the piece as they read? Do they read a great line or scene and think “Wow! I love the way the author _____!” or “What a great way to show the reader how this character looks!”? I’m not sure. I wonder how much time other readers spend absorbed in the story, and how much time (if any) is focused on studying the story. I know for me, the two go hand in hand. There are times when all I am doing is living through the words on the page. Other times, I’m taking in the story but I have more of an out of body sort of sensation going on. I am reading the story, but I’m also taking mental notes on how the author “makes it work”.

While there are times I wish I could turn off my internal editor, it’s just part of how I read. Not having those observations would mean I would take away less from the story. I suppose it’s like any other field of study. I listen to my brother preform at a live concert and hear the beauty in the song, become wrapped up in the experience, where as my brother wouldcritique his performance and note things I never would have known about.

I’m not sure why it matters to me how others read a book. I just like observing how people think, what they gain from the things they are exposed to, and how we can all relate despite our different viewpoints.


One thought on “Reading as a Writer

  1. Pingback: Thoughts on the Intimacy of Reading | Mia Reads

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