Reading and Writing

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“In Hollywood the woods are full of people that learned to write but evidently can’t read. If they could read their stuff, they’d stop writing.”

Will Rogers

The turn of a phrase, a specific word, a striking first sentence or a surprise ending – those are the moments when reading becomes remarkable. I still get chills when I read Charles Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.”   And who can resist, “and they lived happily ever after.”

Writers are the best readers.  Stephen King said, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”  J.K. Rowling agreed, “The most important thing is to read as much as you can, like I did.  It will give you an understanding of what makes good writing and it will enlarge your vocabulary.”

Writers need to hear the voices of other writers.  Blended voices do not imitate or mimic; they unite and introduce harmonic structures that resonate with creative understanding.

Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it.
Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.”
William Faulkner