Thursday, September 22, 2011

How Reading is Helping Me Become a Better Writer.

     I'm not going to say I am a writer because I'm not yet!  I'm still in the baby stages of learning. Lets say I'm aspiring to be an aspiring writer. I never thought I would enjoy writing because of my history with high school English and my atrocious spelling skills.  Thanks to spell check atrocious has become poor. :-)  I'm moving up in the world.

    Most anyone who knows me knows how much I read. I love reading I even wrote an essay for class on how much I love to read. Reading gives me so much. I get to escape from life, travel to new places, meet new people, learn new things, build my vocabulary and just plane old enjoy the stories. On top of all that I have recently discovered my avid reading is helping me to become a better writer.

     Through reading other peoples writings I learn how to better appreciate being descriptive and creative with my wording. I'm learning to think out side the box on what I want to say. So instead of me saying "I was nervous as hell".  I know can grab my readers attention a bit more by saying something like "My palms where so sweaty I had to wipe them on my thighs to dry them.  I could then get a good grip on the steering wheel". Sure they both get my point across but I think after the second option you have a little more idea of just how nervous I was. Descriptive witting has been a challenge for me.  I can't wait to take a creative non fiction writing class :-) Next Term! WOOHOO.  By really looking at and paying attention to the words in the books I read t has helped me remember to be more descriptive in my writing.  Being descriptive is not the only thing I learn.

     I have learned to avoid doing things in my writing that annoy me about other peoples writting. Several of the authors I read tend to be the type that put out 100's of books. I know they are writing these books quickly so quality may not be what it is in some of the authors I read that release books at a much slower speed.  I'm am OK with that. I read all sorts of genres and styles of books. BUT you can't tell me they or their editor ( friend, spouse, sibling, child) or who ever else reads their manuscripts don't notice these little things as well.

     One of the things I find that annoy me is the over use of a single word throughout a book. Especially if it is not a word that is commonly used. It tends to stick out a lot. One author comes to mind as I just finished her book. No it is not any of you on my friends list :-)  The book I read was about an arsonist. OK I get there will be lots of talk about fire, fire building, fire starting, burning, charring and so on.  At least once in every chapter she used the word or a form of the word conflagrate .  She used it every time someone set a fire or was around a fire. ( it is not even in the blogger dictionary LOL ) Conflagrate synonyms: catch fire, combust, ignite, erupt, take fire, inflame, kindle (  I wonder just how often she used it. Maybe one of these days I will count.  This is not a one time deal for this author. She did the same thing in another book a read. I'm not saying she is the only one that does this as I do see it in others.  Another author I read a lot of over uses the word reconnoiter. Her hero's do a lot of reconnoitering.

     I figure if this bothers me then other people have to be bothered by it to. Sure it's not enough to stop reading their work, but I now stop and think about my wording more now. I hope I can be creative enough in my writing to make sure to use my thesaurus more frequently.  In doing so I hope I'm becoming a better writer.

     To be honest here when rereading this post I caught my self reusing the same word phrase LOL I replaced them with another set of words and found I did the same thing again LOL  OK I think both sentences have been change significantly enough to not look anything alike!

So what does reading do for you?  Why do you read?

    On a side note I WISH! I could stop spelling writing with two Ts!



  1. This would be a good paper to turn in to a writing class :)

  2. It turned out a wee bit longer than I had anticipated LOL

  3. It helps to love words too. Then you don't get stuck using the same word over and over and over and.... yeah. I also had a high school English teacher who thought lazy writers repeated themselves that way. I tend to agree with her.