Does one have to read…


…in order to write? Personally, I think if you don’t read, but have aspirations to become a writer, you could be selling both yourself and your potential readers short. If you don’t read at least the genre you’ve chosen, how can you be aware of what’s successful and what’s not? To me, it’s like a painter trying to depict a beautiful picture, whilst wearing a blindfold.

So why do some writers write, without bothering to read? Well there could be several reasons, two of which might be laziness, or impatience. Time and again I’ve read manuscripts riddled with cliches, adverbs and adjectives, because the author is way behind the times. Not having read a book since they were a child, they’re stuck in a writing style way out of date, as far as technique goes. I’m an avid reader of several genres, but when I embarked on my writing journey, I was still guilty of overusing the above. However, I could still tell a story that was coherent, if not altogether pristine.

What did I do to correct my faults? Well I joined a writing group, which helped to a certain extent. I also joined an online writing community, Harper Collins’ Authonomy. Most of the feedback I received was priceless, although one guy suffered from what I call, “over-description syndrome” – something I have to admit I did myself, once-upon-a-time. He practically rewrote the first chapter of Midnight Days, using reams of unnecessary description. It slowed the plot right down and needless to say I thanked him for his time and effort, but declined to take his advice. I was also lucky enough to have a windfall, a few years back, and invested some of it in taking a masters degree in creative writing at John Moores University in Liverpool.

So, what d’you think, does one need to read in order to write?



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3 Responses to “Does one have to read…”

  1. Reading is absolutely essential if you want to become a writer. Craft books and writing groups are helpful as well, but without reading, I don’t think an aspiring writer has a chance. I’ve heard writers say they don’t do much reading, or they don’t have time to read. If you’re not passionate about reading, how can you be passionate about writing? Great article, Kate.


  2. Thanks Tricia. It completely baffles me what motivates non-readers to write. Like I say, it’s like an artist working on a canvas with a blindfold on.


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