Tag Archives: reader

Read Like a Writer

What does it mean to “read like a writer”?

It does not mean reading aloud at an author event, although I now have a new idea for another Teaching Corner article.

To read like a writer means to read material not for pleasure, but for education. It requires a different skillset altogether.

Rather than immersing yourself in a story or reflecting on an idea put forth in a self-help book, a writer can choose to use published material as a master class in writing. A self-guided master class, to be clear.

How to Plan Your Master Class in Writing

1. Find writing material in your genre that wows you. This could be a novel, a short story, a personal essay, a blog post, a poem. You get the idea. Obviously, this means that you have to read in your genre.

The next time you’re reading for pleasure, bookmark or highlight a passage that stands out to you. Don’t worry about analyzing it in the moment. Just mark it for your next learning session.

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Reading in Your Genre

What’s your favorite book, or who’s your favorite author, in the genre you write?

If you can’t answer that question, then it’s time to head to the library or bookstore.

Benefits

Reading other works in your genre has so many benefits for you as a writer:

  • Be Inspired: Read with curiosity and wonder because inspiration abounds everywhere, especially in books we love. Maybe you’re just inspired to exist in a world where a book like this exists. Or maybe the author is clever and plays with structure in an interesting way. Or prompts you to wonder about something that becomes your next great idea.
  • Find things to avoid: What does the author do that annoys you?
  • Discover tropes.
  • Stay current with trends.
  • Support a fellow writer.
  • Learn about comps (when writing a query, book proposal, or preparing your elevator speech). Comps is short for “comparative titles.” It means books that are similar to yours.
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