A Reader or a Writer, which would you rather be?
by Elizabeth Nelson
A reader first. A writer second. Without reading I wouldn’t have ever written anything. My mother was determined to get my sisters and I reading at a very early age. I remember her reading us bedtime stories every night. Soon she would encourage us to read along with her and before you knew it I was reading to her!
I think in order to be a great writer you must first be an avid reader. When I was living abroad teaching English my favorite evening activity became reading. There wasn’t anything else to do. I read all sorts of stories by all different styles of writers. Stephen King, Janet Evanovich, Sara Gruen, Garth Stein, Barbara Kingsolver, and Ann Patchett. All sorts of different writers. Their stories were my escape from the world around me. And because of them I studied different voices and ways to present situations; how to tell a proper story.
I read their books first and for most because I thought the book looked entertaining. Secondly I read different genres and writers to hear different voices. Finding your voice as a writer can be challenging but once you hit it, it can be very liberating. Granted some stories are easier than others.
Have you ever read Stephen Kings book, On Writing?…. If you haven’t you should. It’s an excellent guide for aspiring writers. Through storytelling and sharing his experiences you really can learn something special. I think it’s easy for us to look at King’s work and think that he was always a great writer. Like the rest of us, he had to really work at his craft. He had to work those mundane jobs to survive. I think it’s important to remember to focus on the journey and not on our failures. As writers we make ourselves vulnerable to easy criticism and because of that we have to develop thick skin when we publish our work.
When I was playing out the storyline for Curiosity Killed The Kat I drew upon great writers such as Dan Brown and John Grisham. But I wanted to add a strong female lead twist to my story. I wanted Katherine to find empowerment in making her own decisions and being a strong, independent woman. But in order for her to have this so called “wakeup call” she needed something to ignite the flame. Many of these ideas were drawn upon by other authors work. Without reading first, my imagination wouldn’t be as great.
Together, as writers, we can indirectly help each other be inspired to greatness through reading each other’s work.
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CURIOSITY KILLED THE KAT