Writers reading

A while ago, I read a post on how a person’s reading changes after they become a writer.  The post said that being a writer has almost ruined their ability to read a good book.  Instead of simply reading the book and enjoying it, all the sudden they were breaking down how the scene was constructed, word choice, and style.  It took them out of the story.

I thought that had to be an exaggeration.  We’ve been reading for decades, why would that change just because we started writing?

Well, I thought it was an exaggeration until it happened to me.

I was at work and heading to lunch by myself.  I decided that I should swing by the convenience store and seeing if they had any good books on the rack.  This was a little out of the ordinary, it’s been a while since I’d bought a paperback, I do most of my reading on my Kindle these days, but wanted something to read while I was at lunch.

ash s

So, I picked up James Hebert’s “Ash”.  I wasn’t familiar with his work but it looked interesting and figured it would be worth checking.

I got my plate of Chinese food, sat down, and cracked the book.  Then something strange happened, I started analyzing every sentence.  I couldn’t help it.   Sentence structure, word choice, etc.

Wow, that’s a great way to incorporate dialogue in the scene.  That’s an interesting character description.  Ooh, he’s good at switching between scenes.  These chapter lengths are interesting.  Hmmm, he uses a lot of adverbs.

It was really interesting.  Having read a lot of ebooks recently with questionable… quality, it was educational to open a book that has been so thoroughly vetted, edited, and produced.  I don’t think I’ve read any major books since I started really writing.  I real a ton but mostly on my kindle and usually indie authors, so this was a total change.  So, seeing something professionally produced was a drastic reminded of what a high quality book should look like.