About two weeks ago, I finished reading the first stories turned in my this year's creative writing class. After the first five, I commented on facebook that I could tell who read and who didn't within 3-5 sentences. Several others in the teaching profession joked, "That long?"
Somewhere along the line, there is often a disconnect between reading and writing that isn't seen in other areas. If someone wants to paint, they look at paintings. If they want to be a good dancer, they watch dancing. To be a good writer, that person HAS to read.
But that brings me to my second meaning by the blog title. I have written on this before, but as I'm drafting a new book, I find myself thinking about it even more. What we read matters as well.
Let me explain. I read a decent amount of YA literature - I love it and there are some really incredible books out there for this age group. When I started thinking about writing actively, I thought for certain that my audience would be those who I teach during my day job. I know their voices, stresses, and a surprisingly large amount of their secrets.
But that isn't the voice of my characters.
I recently started a book totally over. There were several problems, one of which was starting the story too soon. Because I started the story too soon, the voice was weird and there was a disconnect between what I was trying to write and who I was writing it for. My characters needed to be older. So, in preparation for thinking of them again, I dove into the literature that I admired for voice and characterization and the way they appealed to audience. And the feedback from my CP's indicates it was indeed the correct decision.
I am a huge proponent of read, just read, read anything, read always. But when it comes time for me to draft, I have to have the feel of what I'm trying to convey.
Do you read when you are drafting? Have you found that reading different genres from what you are writing helps?