The Hardy Boys and Chip Hilton filled my early years.
The Black Stallion is the one book that started me on this life-long journey of loving fiction.
And I read everything from cereal boxes on up.
And then I became a writer. And it all changed. Instead of reading to enjoy, I read to learn the craft. And some of the joy left.
Now when I read in my genre, I’m studying how the authors built their story worlds, created their characters, applied showing and not telling, developed their plots, hooked me in and kept me reading.
I thought, I’ll get the joy back by reading genres I have no inclination to write in. I read thriller author, Steven James. And get caught up in his story and come across a scene where he has two characters dealing with the same issues mine do and get an insight into how to handle it in my story. Auugh! I’m studying again.
Or I read mystery writers Elizabeth George, P.D. James, and Jacqueline Winspear. And I learn from their techniques for making the setting a character.
Recently, I’ve discovered Terry Pratchett who writes fantasy with a delightful sense of humor and I think, “Hmm. I have a scene similar to this and I think I can add some humor to it.”
I’ve come to the conclusion I can’t stop reading as a writer and I need to just settle in and enjoy the ride.
How about you? Are you able to read a novel for the sake of enjoying it? How do you turn off the writer inside?