Young Adult Dark Urban Fantasy Author ~

Writers Who Are Readers and Readers Who Are Writers

Which one are you?

I’m the latter. Definitely.

Although I’ve always written, my love of the written word began before my sentence structure did. My imagination of worlds far and beyond sparked at a very young age. Writing the stories I imagined in my own head, came later.

Books

Books (Photo credit: henry…)

I realized recently, after having a conversation with a fellow writer, just how different the above breeds of writers can be. When I began my novel and truly delved into learning craft, I found reading for my usual enjoyment difficult, and suddenly lacking. Instead of the story I saw sentence structure, grammar use. I would hear myself questioning the decisions the author made and wondering what I would have done differently. I couldn’t see the stories anymore. I’d lost the magical quality that had originally turned me on to writing. I’d lost what I craved most. The story.

Writers who are readers pick stories apart. Readers who are writers, read. For the sheer enjoyment of it. To be transported. To live in someone else’s shoes.

I learned that when you are only looking for errors, they are all you will ever see. And when you are editing your book as a writer, they are all you should see. But when all of that is done–you should see your story.

Now, I have to shut off the writer brain (as hard as that is sometimes) and turn on the reader one. If I don’t, I find myself reading as I would a text book. But if I do… I remember why I love to read. Why I love to write, too. I have worlds I want to share. Characters and  plots. I have to stories to share. That’s the aim, right? To share good stories? And at the end of the day, after all the edits are done and proofreads have been finished, I want to be able to read my book through the eyes of a reader. If I can’t do that — if I can’t still feel the emotion that sat me in front of the laptop for months on end — if I can’t see and feel what I need the reader to see and feel — well, what exactly have I been doing? Remember that readers read because they want to be carried away. You need to see your book not only through your eyes as a writer, but more importantly, through the eyes of your readers. They are the ones who matter. They are the ones who will make or break you as an author. Every single time. And readers, the vast majority of them, are story cravers, not editors, not writers, just readers.

Write the best book you can. Get the best editor you can. Nit pick the crap out every tiny detail in your novel. Then go back and read it. And remember why you wrote it in the first place. The best grammar in the world will not save a crappy story. But…an awesome story will trump a few overlooked grammatical errors. Check out some book on the best sellers list. Readers aren’t looking for perfect. They aren’t looking for the same things writers are. They’re looking for that one story that digs into their soul. The one story they can’t stop thinking about. The one they read over and over again. That’s the book we as writers should be writing.

WRITE ON, WRITERS! And tell your stories.

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9 responses

  1. So very true! I was a reader first and I’ve also noticed that I now see errors or weird POV. It’s standing out, but I put it aside and focus on the story in front of me, which is helping me to form ideas.

    July 22, 2012 at 7:24 am

  2. Good to be able to see both. 😉

    July 24, 2012 at 8:59 pm

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  4. A very well written article, but should it have been? I enjoyed it immensely though. I remember a quote from Paulo Coelho, “Books are not there to show how intelligent and cultivated you are. Books are there to show your heart, to show your soul…..”

    August 1, 2012 at 6:22 pm

  5. Thank you, Paul. I appreciate that. Perfectly suited quote to the point I’m making. I think writers need to remember that truth a bit more often. Thanks for sharing your thoughts today.

    August 1, 2012 at 7:22 pm

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  7. Before I began beta reading I read for sheer enjoyment. Now I do see more errors or oddities of style that throw me out of a story. I’m not sure if books were edited Better years ago, or if my eyes were just untrained. Sometimes I wish I could untrain them 🙂

    November 29, 2012 at 11:24 am

    • Every time I begin a new book I find myself only seeing the words. I hate that. I have to literally make myself stop and just read. Sometimes it’s really hard to do. Then I remember that no one asked me to pick their book apart. 😉 My goal is to get lost in a story and find those books I can’t stop thinking about—it’s the best part. I guess you could say I’ve semi-untrained my eyes. 😉

      Thanks for commenting today, Jennifer. Congrats on your stellar reviews!!

      November 29, 2012 at 11:52 am

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