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Reading Like a Writer

Reading Like a Writer

Do you read like a writer?

Do you pay close attention to all of the elements that create a great story?

I wish I could say that I do. I try, but while I love to read books, I don’t enjoy reading them extremely closely. I’m afraid it will break the spell of a beautiful piece of writing and that I will spend six months reading one book!

Which is why one of my writing goals for 2013 is to revisit “Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them” by Francine Prose.

In her book, first published in 2006, Prose argues that many aspects of writing can be taught, but the best way to learn about choosing the right word or creating rhythm through paragraph structure is to read, extremely closely, books by “great authors” (she provides a list of “books to read immediately”).

Prose gives copious examples from great authors elucidating the following elements:

• Words
• Sentence
• Paragraphs
• Narration
• Character
• Dialogue
• Details
• Gesture

My plan is to choose one of the books off of Prose’s great authors list and do my best to slow down, anaylize, and hopefully improve my own writing by examinging a master craftsperson.

Do you read closely? Has it improved your writing?