Thursday, January 19, 2012
The YA Indie Carnival: What reading teaches me as a writer.
This week's post is: What reading teaches me as a writer.
What does reading teach me as a writer? Reading and writing pretty much go hand in hand. A writer who doesn't enjoy reading would be like a swimmer who doesn't enjoy being in the water. The stories we have read over the years were the spark that kindled our passion for writing in the first place.
Writing styles vary as much as the genres available to be read. My writing style has been molded in the same way my choreographic style as a dance instructor evolved. I began dancing at the age of 5 (I'm now 41). As you might imagine I have studied under countless instructors. Some of them were good, some not so good and some awesome and inspiring. No matter the teacher, they all taught me something. I made a mental note when an instructor communicated in a way that made the movement fall into place easily and when he or she confused me and left me feeling awkward. Whether consciously, or unconsciously, I've discovered that the accumulation of these lessons led to the dance teacher I am today. Reading countless authors and genres has done the same thing for me. All of my reading experiences have enabled me to develop my own style as a writer. In both scenarios I realized what I was good at, what I liked best and what felt the most natural to me.
Reading the work of others reinforces my writing abilities. It's like a mental warm up for my brain. In Ballet class I warm up my muscles with barre exercizes to prepare my body for performance. To get my creative juices flowing as a writer I stimulate it regularly with creatively well written and enjoyable books. Doing this rejuvinates and inspires me.
Reading also challenges me to push myself outside of my comfort zone. I think this is very important as a writer, or artist of any kind, because trying different things allows our talent to blossom and grow. What is my comfort zone as a writer? I enjoy reading and writing stories that are told from multiple perspectives. I like getting inside of the head of the characters I meet in books and grow to love. Naturally, my writing reflects this too. Right now I'm writing a new series in which the story is told from one point of view. It's a bit of an experiment for me and so I have allowed myself a few chapters here and there to cheat by inserting "dream sequences" that, at times, can take the reader into the thoughts and feelings of some of the other characters. We'll see what happens!
Well, that's my two cents on this weeks theme. Don't forget to check out the indie resolutions for the rest of my carni friends! I can't wait to read their posts myself!