Call us psychic! We are willing to bet that you've got stacks of books in your house because most writers are also passionate readers. It's that love of books that inspires us. We've read books that have made us laugh, and cry, and imagine new worlds, and even fall in love. (It is a well-known fact that book boyfriends can be better than the real thing.)
However, as writers, reading can be more than just pleasure. Books allow us the opportunity to learn — to explore how another writer approaches the craft. Just how did they make you fall in love? What did they do that resulted in you saying: "Screw it, it may be two am, but I'm going to read one more chapter."
Today we talk about the idea of reading like a writer and how you can use existing books to develop your own craft.
Long before there were creative-writing workshops and degrees, how did aspiring writers learn to write? By reading the work of their predecessors and contemporaries, says author Francine Prose. In Reading Like a Writer, Prose invites you to sit by her side and take a guided tour of the tools and the tricks of the masters. She reads the work of the very best writers—Dostoyevsky, Flaubert, Kafka, Austen, Dickens, Woolf, Chekhov—and discovers why their work has endured.
6 Tips for Reading Like a Writer offers great advice from author Mark Beaver on how to up-level your writing by becoming a great reader in this Writers Digest guest post.
Things a Writer Can Learn From Reading Novels offers 7 more tips about things to look for when you're reading other authors' words with examples from classic books.
For Creative Academy Members
If you're not part of a book club and want some tips on how to start and manage one, middle grade author Kirsten Mah has got advice for you in her conversation with Donna about the value of being in a book club.
If time constraints or your location make an in-person book club too challenging to pull off (or, if like Donna, your friends prioritize discussions about wine above the books they were supposed to read), we have your back!
Our brand new, Creative Academy book club has just launched and the first book up for discussion is Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. You've got until Sunday, November 4 at 7PM Pacific to read it since that's when we're meeting (online) to have a writers as readers discussion about this break-out bestseller.
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* Links to books on Amazon are affiliate links which help support the Creative Academy's book buying addiction.