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How does writing fiction affect your reading?

One of my closest friends told me that he stops reading fiction when is working on a novel as reading other fiction often affects his writing voice.

So, how does writing fiction affect your reading, both fiction and non-fiction?
tynamite's avatar ========= How does writing fiction affect your reading? =========

Unlike all you lot here, I don't read books!

The last time I read a book was over 7 years ago.
I have never read an adult book in my life.
The only books I've ever read were children's books.

I write realistic stories about urban life. But I read fantasy books.
This is because the books I sought to find in the library or in Waterstones, did not exist.
When I write stories, I try to show why real life is more interesting than fantasy.
I hate Young Adult books as they are ruining literature.

I believe that writing should be emotive and immersive.
I don't care how good other writers are, because as long as my writing is like that, that's all that matters!
I'll never be like such and such a writer, but as long as I meet that aim, my writing can stand among the greats.

If reading fiction drastically affects your writing voice, then in my opinion, you need to read more to get better skilled at writing before you start, in order to gain confidence in your skills. If you were adequately skilled enough, your voice wouldn't change so adamantly from just one book, as your voice would be distinct. If you're a diamond in the rough, be sure to get reading to gain clarity.

I would never want to read when I'm writing a novel, because in my opinion, if I have to, then I am not a good writer enough to finish writing the novel in the first place.

On the flip side, I'm lucky not to have my writing style change or have highly influenced content, when I read something else at a period of heavy writing.

I know what I want to write about, and I know what I want to sound like. Concept and vision. Ideas are the concept. Execution is the vision. Concept and vision.

I've never had to get help or advice on starting a story, and I believe that it is ultimately the narration that starts a story off, not the goings on content, but the narration.

As I have my own unique style of narration that only I do, it doesn't change as I read books, as my narration style is uniquely my own and it is ultimately me. I'm set in my ways.

I've been told that I can make the most boring of things interesting in my writing, and that I know the exact sort of characters to put together to have things be interesting.

And how do I do that? It's my narration. It's like a KFC secret spices or McDonalds secret sauce they put in their burgers. My narration style is my trademark.

PS. People say I'm naturally very talented at writing, before you ask or have doubts.

========= How does reading fiction affect your writing? =========

If reading fiction drastically affects your writing voice, then in my opinion, you need to read more to get better skilled at writing before you start, in order to gain confidence in your skills. If you were adequately skilled enough, your voice wouldn't change so adamantly from just one book, as your voice would be distinct. If you're a diamond in the rough, be sure to get reading to gain clarity.

My mum taught me to read at 3 years old with Peter and Jane books and flashcards. And I was in nursery able to read, write, spell, and construct coherent sentences. I could read and write before school even started! Whenever junk mail went through the door, I would open it and read it. I liked reading and writing from a young age. Also I would put letters, numbers, colours and shapes into grids as a young child as part of imaginative play. (I did role play too.)

When I was in school, whenever we had to write a story in English class, I would always be in the top 4 writers in the class no matter what school or year I was in. People say that I'm naturally very talented at writing.

People say I have a natural flair for writing, where my robotic passive tone style of narration heightens and anticipates everything it touches. Characters are accurately depicted through the simplest of words and actions. Hooks are used for provocative effect as well as to move the story along.

I write realistic stories about urban life. I only read fantasy books because nothing in Waterstones matches up to what I would like to read. I hate Young Adult books as they're killing literature, and the books about urban life I would love to read don't exist. That's why I only read fantasy books. When I write stories, I try to show you exactly why books about real (urban) life are much better than fantasy books.

I have never read an adult book in my life, and I've only ever read children's books.

Why Is Reading Important?
There are the things I've learnt from reading.

  • Characterisation
  • How to make stories sad (somewhat)

If I had never been made to read OCR Opening Worlds in school for my English GCSE, I would never have known what characterisation was. Characterisation is when you give someone their character implictly through their words or actions. Using show don't tell, to get across to the reader what a character is like.

I did not know that. Fast forward to people reading my 1st novel, and I was told that I got across so much about a character in one sentence, about a simple little thing that they did.

All the time before I learnt about characterisation, I'd been giving characters their personality by their catalogue of things they said and done throughout the story, not the little things they do or say that you would forget but subconsciously do remember.

That was a revelation!

If I had never read the chapters In The Cave and onwards in Harry Potter, I would not have known how it was possible to make stories sad.

Writing Technique I Learnt
I learnt that if you create a character that is believable that a reader can empathise with, give them a logical dilemma such as a false dilemma or Catch 22, and exploit it to the max or even so it's awkward, that you can have the character feeling sad.

"Harry, No matter how much I say no, force me to drink the rest of the drink."
* * *
Dumbledore howled in pain. "Drink this up Dumbledore. This'll make you feel better." Harry said feeding him."

Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince

--------> "I don't have a toothbrush." "You can use my toothbrush."
............... He was brushing his teeth with her toothbrush. Sheridon thought about millions of Tracy germs entering his mouth and having a party. [He doesn't like Tracy.]

My book, Familiarity Breaks.

See how putting one simple thing in your stories, can seriously amplify the desired tone in it, and make it sad? You can now use it in yours, as well.

I doubt that I could make someone cry after reading my books, but if it happens, I'll be happy. At least I can say it's a possible occurrence now, and not rule it out.

I have 4 more ideas for novels, and I don't know if I have the skill to write them, as they are more ambitious (and hard) than the two I've already wrote. I asked my friend what book I should read next, explaining that I'd never read adult books and needed to read to be aware of writing techniques so I can know what's possible in writing, and he told me to buy Dreamcatcher by Stephen King. (Especially as I wrote a novel about a dream world.)

If you don't read, how can you be aware of what writing techniques exist?

If you don't read, how do you know what's possible?

Learning about characterisation and how to make stories sad, is something that truly changed how I write for 15% of my written work (as you only need to characterise and make something really sad only once in a book), but it made such a big difference.

If I didn't know about it, I would have NEVER wrote any novels!!!!!!!!!!!!

How could I of known that it would have made such huge a difference, before I read?

How could I of known what was possible with writing, before I read?

This is why reading books is important, so you can become a great and seasoned writer.

I have a feeling that I am limited, or for a better word, not a seasoned writer, because I don't know what is possible with writing. I strongly suspect I'll have to read more before writing a 3rd novel, as I wrote the easiest ones to write first.

Practical Example Of Why Reading Is Important
This is 3 paragraphs I used to start off a children's short story I wrote called The Black Portal. It contains no characterisation and sadness, and shows my writing skills in its purest form.

Also it follows the typical Introduction (to characters, scenery) --> Problem (is introduced) --> Build up (of situation)-->Conflict (happens) --> Resolution (of the problem) --> Ending (usually happy) structure to a short story. The main character is the protagonist, and her brother is the antagonist.

(I was taught from my English teacher that structure of children's short stories, and we were taught to stick with it when writing short stories.)

To be able to be a good writer, you first have to master the art of children's stories, as they are the easiest to write. And because they're the foundation.

I was living in a house with other people I did not fully know, in The Sanctuary type dream world that I introduced you to. One more thing I should have said in the previous short story, is that in this dream world, when you enter it, you enter a random place. Depending on what you're thinking before you go there, you either end up somewhere you've once been before, if you think about it enough, or in you're the same mind state, or you end up somewhere else if your mind is somewhere else. My mind must of been somewhere else before I went to sleep for me to end up in a house with complete strangers, and none of them want to get to know me. I enter this dream world, and begin my time there in a house full of strangers.

The house was so busy, there was 8 people in it including myself. If you was to be in a helicopter above the house, and use heat vision to see the people move about, it would be chaotic as the people never stayed in one spot for more than a minute, including myself. I was one of the people who continually walked around the house all the time to see what was going on with the people in the different rooms. It never bored me to enter the same room twice. When I was in the passageway downstairs, a girl I hardly knew, found a black circle on the floor, and she peeled it off, and held it in her hand.
The girl thought that the black circle was a sticker. So she slammed it onto the wall, and when she did, her arm went through the portal. The circle was now on the wall of the stairs, and she climbed through the portal, and then came back. "Whoa! I've just discovered a new room in the house. This is going to be my room." People in the kitchen walked out the room and saw the black circle on the wall, and another girl who had just saw what she had said, had just said what she said. "No it's going to be my room." said another person, who was a devious boy. The girl took the black circle, and ran off to her bedroom. She knew that she was going to have a fight on her hands.

[---------------------end of introduction -------------]

Now that she had the circle, it was now time to make it an extension of her bedroom, and as her bedroom was tidy, she thought that the best thing to do with the circle, is to fill it up with stuff. She found plenty of stuff she could use to fill the room up with. She found a teddy bear she could use.

Now what could you learn from that?

It's time to read some books. I know I'm going to do it before I write another novel.
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