Read Like a Writer Series #1
In high school and college literature classes you are taught to read like a critic. In criticism, you are concerned about how the novel, short story or poem fits into the long history of literature. To understand the book you are reading, you want to first have an understanding of the main currents in English and American literature. As part of this study, you will learn about story structure, but the main focus is on the way the story fits with other stories in the same genre or school of literature.
Writing a story is about constructing a story that hooks your interest and holds it to the end. The more the writer knows about literary tradition, the better the writer will be at producing a story consistent with past trends in literature. But the main issue for the writer is crafting an interesting story rather than its literary merit. To put this in perspective, I have heard too many literature professors over the years say something along the lines of: “We know a good story when we read one, but we can’t always tell why it’s good.” That’s a critical opinion. A writer on the other hand better know what makes a good story good or he or she won’t be able to write a good story.
This blog series is about how to read a novel or short story like a writer writes a story. The first rule in reading a story is to simply enjoy it. If it’s no fun to read, then it’s okay to not finish it. An author has to earn your reading time by holding your interest.
Rule number 2 in reading a story is on you. You are allowed to stop reading at the words THE END and move on to another story. However, if you ever wondered how the writer “did it.” That is, how the writer got you excited about the story and moved you in some way, then you want to turn back to the beginning of the story and take another look. This series is about what to look for when you take that second look. Over time you will learn to see some of these things the first time around, but it’s always okay to take a second look at a favorite story. And a third, a fourth, a fifth, etc. It’s up to you.
I would be honored if you chose one of my stories for your next reading experience. If you do, please let me know how you enjoyed it by commenting below or on Amazon. I also enjoy hearing from readers at my author’s email address which is paul dot lloyd dot author at gmail dot com. (Thanks for taking time to figure that email address out so I don’t have to worry about the spider bots getting me.)
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