I've just finished "If on a winter's night a traveller" by Italo Calvino and in the book a character says that it is something special to be just a reader. By becoming a writer you ruin that intimate relationship you had with reading. You bury it under mounds of editing criteria, punctuation, grammar, spelling, diction, character flaws, and anything else you can pick a book apart for. You can never again attain that first, innocent love interest with reading.
Does anyone agree or disagree? As someone who wants to be a writer (and someone who's mildly paranoid DON'T STAND BEHIND ME) I find myself just a tad miffed by this (though it was a very good book)
April 4th, 2005, 12:04 AM
As a long time writer (and a short time getting published) reading takes on a differnt meaning for a writer. Yes I can pick out the annoying repetition, patterened paragraphs, missing dialect, etc, but when I read, I've trained myself to let go. That's all you need to do. You must decide what you are reading for. Are you reading to edit, critique, or relax. Pick first, then read. :)
April 4th, 2005, 12:06 AM
Yes and no.
As you learn to write to learn a lot about how a story is put together, from words and sentences to plot and theme. Your "relationship" with reading changes, I don't think it is ruined. I still look up at the stars with a sense of wonder, even though I've learned they are not angels holding candles.
I guess someone who writes a lot could get overly critical of other work they read, and instead of just reading and enjoying they spend all their time editing and second-guessing. But not me.
April 4th, 2005, 02:23 AM
I can't remember not being a writer, and I really don't read with edits in mind. If I'm reading to give comments I have to make a conscious switch to edit mode; and even then I'm primarily a reader.
I'm much more likely to notice a turn of a phrase and think, hey, I'd have liked to come up with that.
April 4th, 2005, 03:19 AM
I never choose to enjoy a book. If it is well written and somehow speaks to me I don't even notice I am reading half the time. I am simply there. This hasn't changed a bit since I started writing. The only thing that has changed is that I am more picky about what I read. That could be the result of reading so much crap over the years though...
It's all about suspension of disbelief. It isn't a consious decision, if it's going to happen then it happens. Like Dawnstorm I can choose to be objective and look at the words but that to me is not the same as reading. It is the difference between servicing the engine of a sports car or just getting in and enjoying the drive.
April 4th, 2005, 07:04 AM
Pretty much the same applies for me although I do tend to analyse the book a bit after I've finished reading but never while I'm reading.
April 4th, 2005, 08:26 AM
Even when I am editing someone else's work, I must read the story first. I find I don't find anything to critique till the second time through. I suspect it is because I read for the sheer enjoyment of reading and do not ever wish to twist that character trait into something it wasn't meant to be. Reading something a second and third time is work and that makes it easy to edit.
April 4th, 2005, 09:28 AM
Not me... I've got five possible plots worked out by the end of the first sentence. Halfway thru, I've already nabbed all the clues and worked out the final twist... if I haven't then I start to worry that the story is a fizzler and that nothing can save it and then grow more and more tense the longer the clues are delayed.
I notice everytime a character slips out of character, every passive sentence, every spelling mistake, every plot hole, every accidental concurrent action.
I am soooOOOooooo infuriating! :mad:
BUT I do still enjoy and admire some books. There's some bloody good writers out there. :D
April 4th, 2005, 12:04 PM
There is a counterpoint to this. Yes, I tend to enjoy bad or mediocre books less than I would if I were an 'unbiased' reader, but it also enhances my perceptions of those books that are (imho) excellent. Encountering this now reading Mieville's "The Scar". The use of prose and the pacing of the story become strong points, not weak-points to pick at.
April 4th, 2005, 12:17 PM
I am like you, Rocket. And when I read my own books to refresh my memory while I am writing more in the series, I cringe at all the errors, stilted sentences, repetition etc. One of the perils of publishing with an independent press is the editing aspect. And when I read other authors, I tend to be hyper-aware of all of the same things that many of the others here who are accustomed to writing and editing notice. But when I start to read a really brilliant book that captures me and draws me in deeper and deeper to its world, I soon forget about everything else. Sadly, those experiences are few and far between these days. Reading The Darkness that Comes Before was the first time in a long long time that I was totally captivated by a book. So it can still happen!