Monday, July 4, 2011

Reading as a Writer

I love to read. I love to read for fun. Somewhere along the way that reading turned into learning for me as well. I read books and think to myself about what I liked or didn't like. However, it wasn't until recently that I realized I know read differently than I used to.

Yes, I knew that it was bound to happen. I just didn't realize that it would be this drastic of a change.

It all started when my daughter's Girl Scout troop was working on a reading badge. They all had to come in and recommend a book they had recently read. Since I love YA they asked me for a recommendation as well. I had just finished reading the first three novels in The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare. So, naturally loving the series so much I recommended them.

One of the other moms in the troop enjoys reading YA as well and she ran out and bought the first book in the series, City of Bones. I had hoped that she would fall in love with the book as much as I did. Unfortunately she saw it differently. When we discussed it I was surprised that she didn't like it. I took all her points and thought about them. Why didn't she like it as much as I did? I kept asking myself this question over and over.

Every answer I had pointed to one thing. I read it from a writer standpoint and she didn't. She didn't like all the subplots or directions it was going in. Yes, that can be confusing. Every issue she had was with the story itself. For me, everything I liked was in the writing. The plot, the characters, the setting, her writing.... I could go on, but I won't.

I realized that I read the book from the standpoint of a fellow writer, not for joy. I wondered about this some more. And came to the realization that my reading has definitely changed. Before I got serious about my writing I read The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. It is a long book, adult, and very intricate. I liked the book, but found that it was going in too many directions. At the time that's what I thought. However, now looking back, maybe it wasn't so tedious. I just thought it was. I realize that maybe this is how the other mom is reading, and seeing, City of Bones.

My reading has changed. I read as a writer, not a reader. I can't pinpoint when exactly I started doing that, but it has happened. And, no, I am not sorry that has happened. I feel I have learned more by changing my reading style. 

Your Turn -> Have you noticed differences in your reading?

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