Author’s Intent: Reading and Writing

It is said that to be a good writer, one must be a voracious reader. I can attest that I have gained much inspiration and insight from reading that has benefited my writing. Reading Stephen King’s Dark Tower series influenced my current work in progress Worthy, though my book is a totally different genre than King’s. At times, I can’t seem to read enough.

That said, I’m not the most consistent reader. I can go for months, even years without reading a single book. When I was more active on Goodreads, I would sometimes list my reading goal as one or two books in a year, and often fell short of that goal. I frequently find myself with a reading block. No matter how hard I try to read, I can’t seem to stick with it. Other times, I can’t pick up the next book fast enough. Between late 2017 and early 2018, I read a great deal of King’s work, including The Stand in addition to the Dark Tower novels. I also read several of Charles Bukowski’s books, fiction and essays.

The value of reading for me beyond the intrinsic desire to experience the world created by an author is to experience a different style of writing and perhaps learn some new tricks in telling a story. Humans are storytellers at heart, but some get the words out better than others. Seeing how each author forms sentences and chooses what the focus of each story will be is one of the joys in reading, especially for a writer. I don’t always agree with an author’s approach (Gravity’s Rainbow is a prime example) but seeing how the author framed a work is fascinating nonetheless.

I am still largely a print book reader. I have read and enjoyed ebooks but still have some trouble relying on an electronic device for reading, though I use my iPhone for just about everything else. For longer stories and novels, I still reach for a traditional print book and like to sit back with one and get lost in the story. I’m also not afraid of longer works such as David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest which seemed effortless despite its length and all the footnotes, which I found to be hilarious. I know a story is really good if I don’t want it to end despite the length. I’m that way with most of Charles Dickens’ work that I’ve read.

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