Friday, January 13, 2012

Books are a Writer's Best Friend

"If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot…reading is the creative center of a writer’s life…you cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you."
–Stephen King

  I completely agree with Stephen King’s words. It’s important for writers to read a lot, not just in the genre that we write but also other books that pique our interest. One of the best ways we can hone our skill is by reading.  Reading familiarizes us with different styles of writing, plots, characters, and how other writers use dialogues effectively. Good books are of course great teachers who teach us how to write well. Reading in one’s own genre is advantageous as it makes us aware of what kinds of books are currently selling.

I hate to use the words bad books, so I will just say that books that are not all that great too teach us by highlighting the shortcomings of that particular story, by making us aware of the faults in the story: weak characterization and plots with large holes in it. We know what to avoid in our own writing, we know what can bore readers and turn off editors and agents.

The best way to put all that we have learnt while reading into practice is by writing like there is no tomorrow. As we write more and more, we do tend to get better and better. Our critiquing abilities are sharpened when we read lots of books.

I seriously don’t understand when some writers tell me that they just don’t have the time to read. It’s like an athlete saying that he doesn’t have time to practice. It’s our passion for reading that propelled us into writing.

I just finished Amish Tripathi’s Book 1 of the Shiva Trilogy: The Immortals of Meluha.  I have just started Book 2: The Secret of the Nagas.

What kind of books do you all read? Is your reading restricted to your genre or do you read all kinds of books? What are you all currently reading?


  1. I make a point of reading as many different genres as I can. Sticking to what you like is a sure way to stunt your judgements, I think.

    currently I'm reading:
    Brother's Karamazov but Dostoevsky
    Women by Bukowski
    No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July
    2030 by Albert Brooks
    Hardbolied Wonderland by Murakami

    Moody Writing

  2. wonderful piece..short and educative...enjoyed reading..made me feel guilty of not being a constant reader,,,,,sorry to have missed....thank you ma'am

  3. Great advice Rachna. To be a good writer, you have to be a reader.

    And, with e-readers, one can certainly take books anywhere you go.

    Enjoy your weekend.

  4. I have been reading a ton of women's fiction books--trying different authors and seeing why they appeal to me.

  5. I read all genres, Rachna. But I do read more middle grade and picture books because that is what I write.

    I can't stand it when I hear of someone who writes, but does not read. That makes NO sense to me.

    I am currently reading Victoria Simcox's The Black Shard. I'm going to review it on the blog for her. *waving*

  6. Reading is an obsession of mine! I've always loved it, but now I read for pleasure AND with a purpose. It's rare that I'll read a "bad" book, since I usually read books based on recommendations. But you're right, ALL books teach us something. Thanks, Rachna!

  7. Hi Friends...reading is an obsession with all of us. Most of us read across genres and not just for pleasure but also with a purpose, to learn something from it. I believe that every story has something to teach the readers.

  8. Reading is an addiction to me and life is too short to read all the books that I would like to read. Reading inspires me each and every day. I can't imagine a life without books. Nice post.

  9. Oh, I love reading! I feel just like Julia--for me, reading is an addiction. I read different genres, too. Mainly I've been focusing on kid-lit for the past few years, since that's what I write. But I read poetry, I love a good mystery for adults, and I went through a phase when I was absolutely hooked on Dostoevsky. I just finished reading a delightful MG historical fantasy by Stuart Gibbs called The Last Musketeer. Highly recommend it!

  10. I wish I could say I read a lot outside my genre of YA, but there are so many great YA books, I don't have time to go beyond (I'm still trying to catch up with my YA TBR pile from last year). I do try to explore other genres from time to time. Especially since there are so many benefits to reading them.

  11. Really a useful piece! From each of your post, there is something valuable to pick up. Thanks for being our guide always.

  12. I also try to avoid using phrases like "bad books".

  13. I read a lot of different books. MG, YA, Adult, and I don't mind genre so long as it's written well. :)

    I'm currently reading too many books. LOL.

  14. I've been reading some YA lately. Downloading fellow blogger and blogette's books to my Kindle Fire. Have to admit this is a breath of fresh air. Been reading some really great stories!

  15. I too love reading and now being a literature student, I can't stop reading a book.
    I love reading autobiographical book, thriller, horror and most of all, I love Nicholas Sparks. Who don't love his book, everyone does. Beside my course based novels, I love Danielle Steel and Sidney Sheldon's book. They are super awesome filled with suspense and emotive thoughts that always strikes me with surprise like many other novels.

    Thank you for posting such a knowledgable post! Simply love going through your post every time you update because I learn a lot from here. Simple love it!

  16. Very educative post madam. This reminds me to read more as I did the previous year when I have read some 8 novels mainly those of Nicholas Sparks and Paulo Coelho's, and few inspirational books. I am planning to read at least ten books this year. Waiting for your next post madam.

  17. I totally agree with Stephen King's quote, too! I also think it's important to read in all genres. Or at least in several outside of the ones you write. Right now, I'm reading ALLOY OF LAW by Brandon Sanderson. LOVE it!

  18. I read a wide range of books. At the moment I'm reading a romance as well as an scifi anthology.

  19. Rachna, I did not see this write up in my tool bar:(! Another good writing from you! I love to read anything I can lay my hands on! As a child I used to even read the paper bags made out of printed material:)

  20. I agree with you completely, but of late I have been struggling to read. I think it's because I'm mainly in an editing mode, so any detail that my mind reads as wrong rips me right out of the story I'm reading.


  21. Reading is a must! I too, do not see how a writer cannot read. It's inconceivable! :)

  22. Hi Rachana,
    Good to be here again.
    Books, Book, and Books, OMG!!!
    wonderful thoughts here!!
    Yes, if you are a writer you must must and must read a lot of stuffs, especially need to be more selective in this case according to our line of subject. I was a voracious reader, but unfortunately due to the pressure of activities i now seldom engage in reading, but as said a writer cannot neglect this part in their life. This post prompted me to engage again in this activity LOL
    Yes, let me re-quote Stephen King: "If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot…reading is the creative center of a writer’s life…you cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you."
    Thanks Rachana,
    sorry, here comes a belated wishes for the New Year 2012. Keep Going All the Best
    Here is a small experience.