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  • Writer's pictureKali Kuzma

Why You Should Read More as an Author

Why I'm Reading More to Write More

First grade was the year I remember having to be able to read books by myself. In class, there was this little book I would pull out every day and as I would get to the end, I would hope that day would be the day I could sound out the last word of the book. It was only three little letters but for some reason I was always left stumped. Until one day....

I flipped the page it clicked. Tea.

This is the only time I ever remember learning a specific word as the rest all blend together. After that day, the reading didn't stop.

Any free time I had would be spent reading. There were even times my mom would become worried as I was engrossed with the words on the pages in front of me instead of eating dinner. Or nights staying up past my bedtime to finish the book in one sitting. Even as I type this, my eyes are tired from reading a book I just finished.

But has I shifted from reading to writing I found it important to keep reading. To not only find inspiration and keep up on the latest trends, but to also understand, 'what makes a good book? What makes readers want to come back for more or keep them reading in one sitting?'

As I read, I make mental notes of does and doesn't that work so when it's time to finally sit down to write, I know what I should or shouldn't include. Here are some books I read recently and what I learned from them.

I'm Glad My Mom Died is an interesting memoir containing 90 chapters. Each chapter would start with a theme and end with a closer tying it all together. Tying each chapter in a knot is predictable and boring especially when it happens 90 times in a row.

Going forward I'm going to make sure to tie things to together but only when needed and sparsely to give the reader time to reflect.

Bunny was written in a poetic flow to go with the main character's state of mind. Even though beautiful at times, it's exhausting trying to keep up with it for the entire novel. This novel showed me I would rather write a direct and simple story that gets the point across for readers to enjoy rather than have them trying to decipher the writing.

My Best Friend's Exorcism contained some amazing references to the 80's but reading 'said' as a descriptor after every sentence a character would say was annoying and lacked emotion. This story told me I need to make sure to either switch things up when it comes to portraying emotion when I write and also realize readers are smarter than you think so a descriptor isn't needed every time.

Darling Girl and Five Total Strangers had similar plots when it came to creating emotion. Each of the main characters had lost someone important in their lives. Even though this is a great way for readers to connect they lacked any background history giving the reader nothing to hold onto thus leaving the stories flat.

This made me realize I need to build and write that emotion throughout the story and give that history even though it may not feel necessary.

The Mysterious Affairs at Styles and most of Agatha Christie's novels give a full paragraph description of characters when introduced. They also contain plot dumping towards the end when it comes to mystery's that you would not know unless the character laid it out fully. This things should be scattered throughout.

After reading this book, I realized I need to make sure to string the reader along by giving them hints here and there so they can imagine the story as they please while also trying to figure out the plot twist.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, you can take away important lessons when it comes to writing the more you read.

I don't read as much as I used to but I'm still trying to get in a few books a month to keep me inspired as I write as well as finding my voice readers will connect with. What books have you read recently and what did you take away from them? Let me know in the comments below.

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