by , Friday October 28, 2011

There are two great writing tips always being recommended to writers. One of them is...reading!

But what should you read and how will it make you a better writer? What is Team Heathcliff and what's abibliophobia?

Hi Movellists!

Welcome to my very first blog-post here on Movellas. If you don't know me already, take a look at my profile - that way I won't have to bore anyone with the story of my life twice.

I blog about LITERATURE about WRITING and about the BOOKS I'm reading. Is that all I think about? Pretty much. I've been googling around a bit and finally found the diagnosis: I suffer from abibliophobia! The constant fear of running out of reading material. Luckily that never happened, but I did have some back trouble from carrying around half a library in my bag. But this is about writing tips, not my poor back.
So what do you need to read in order to become a better writer?

Anything, really. The classics are great sources - they've been fascinating readers for hundreds of years - but a cheap and cheesy love story found in the super market can also be a great help.

Starting with the classics, what does great literature teach you? Well, I could go on and on about how literature makes you a better person (it does!) but let's stick to the subject. More than anything else, the classics will inspire you. Sometimes it's downright overwhelming that writing can be that good. It  gives you the energy  to keep editing and redrafting pieces when your writing is not turning out quite the way you want it. Some classics are so good, it's almost hard to believe. I recently came across a heated discussion online about which of the two men was a better lover - and no, it wasn't Team Edward vs. Team Jacob, it was Team Heathcliff vs. Team Mr. Darcy. And who are these gentlemen? Heathcliff is the great love of Cathy's life in the book Wuthering Heights from 1847, and Mr. Darcy gets his Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice, which was published in 1813. A discussion like that makes you wonder how on earth it's possible to create characters that are so good, they still get people worked up after 150 years.

But it's not just the great topic of love that inspires. How can Stephen King be so scary? How can Charles Dickens be so eloquent? And how can Dr. Seuss be so funny? The more you read the truly awesome writers, the more you want to become a better one yourself.
Apart from getting you all fired up, it also expands your vocabulary and gives you an idea of how to bring together all the important parts of your story: creating a plot, maintaining suspense, making the characters seem real and describing and setting a scene without being too boring.
That's all well and good, but what do you learn from the downright atrocious books? Of course, if nothing else, you learn how not to write. But thats not all. Most things aren't 100 percent bad, they're just not 100 percent good either. It's like sneaking a peek behind the scenes; it makes it easier to spot the mechanisms and see why some things work and some things don't.

If you read a book where the main characters fall in love, start dating and basically just have a wonderful time, you might start getting a bit bored. That way you learn that a little conflict and challenge raise the stakes and make it more interesting. If you read about a girl who is gorgeous and sweet and smart and polite, you'll probably get bored soon too. That way you learn that a character needs a little more depth and complexity to 








And finally: what do you need to read the most? Whatever you like, really. But if you want to make it as relevant as possible, it's probably a good idea to read within the genre that you want to write in. It's always a good idea to know the classics of that genre as well as keeping up with new trends.
Luckily that has become a lot easier; at least I'm thrilled to have iPad and a smartphone, so that I can actually carry around half a library without hurting my back. It weighs next to nothing - that way I won't have to suffer from this as well:
Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia  :-)


Next time: the other great writing tip!

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