Writing Reader Observation #1

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. ” ― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

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Regardless of whether you’re a fan of Stephen King’s or not, his advice regarding reading is spot on. How can you be a good writer if you don’t read? It’s kind of like a writer’s apprenticeship. Reading shows you what to do and sometimes what NOT to do.

Today marks the start of what will be a semi-regular feature on the Microcosm. I’m going to share with you some observations, unfortunately mostly what-not-to-do’s, from the books that I’ve read while blogging.

 


The following is paraphrased from the novel I’m currently reading:

The character is on the phone. The British man says to her:

“We want to use the telly.”

My reaction when reading: what does their wanting to watch the tv have to do with her being on the phone?

Reading on I realize that the author thinks the British use “telly” to mean phone. They don’t. “Telly” refers to television.

Lesson Learned: Don’t use slang unless you are positive of the meaning; if nothing else, google. If you don’t want to do that, just use the term common to your own language.

As a writer you always want to maintain the “fictional dream,” which is interrupted when you use the wrong word.


 

14 replies »

      • Oh yes, I agree, 100%. Sometimes your left feeling more confused than not as it muddies up the waters instead of clarifies. Ive seen people trying to tie up loose ends and thought, well! That didn’t work. lol

    • Thanks. I hope it’s helpful. I know I’ve been reading a bit more carefully (actually have begun to feel nitpicky—eeks!) and maybe my observations can help other writers. 🙂

  1. So true…I knew a guy who only read the books he wrote himself. Sounds boring to me, especially as he’d only written a couple of books. But in those books, he would try to use long, fancy words. And he had no idea what they meant. I couldn’t stand it.
    I read all the time, and have a good vocabulary because of that. But if I’m even a little hesitant, I google the word to make sure. Or I use a word that I know my readers will be sure to know, if it doesn’t change the integrity of the story.

    • You have a good point. I’ve started googling words I felt positive I knew and sometimes find they didn’t have the exact meaning, a close meaning, but not exact. That’s the fun of words. 🙂
      (But I can’t imagine only reading things I’d written!)

    • Yes. I know that my writing has improved so much by reading. Even when you think you’re not paying attention to the actual writing style, I think you’re learning by osmosis. 🙂
      Also, I think Google has made me a better writer. lol 🙂

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