So before I actually begin talking about writing and whether you should do outlines or not do outlines, I want to take a second to talk about reading!
Now if you were like me when I first started writing my first book, you don’t want to read anything. All that adrenaline and excitement is going toward writing your first epic novel! But slow down there cowboy, things are never as easy as they seem.
Reading helps with all kinds of issues. First of all, it should be something that you do on a regular basis anyway. If you can spend at least thirty minutes a day reading, you will benefit greatly. However, don’t feel like you have to read thirty minutes a day, or feel discouraged if you can’t. You can still write without spending that much time, but try to read as much you can, when you can.
Why Reading Helps
Ever play a game, watch a movie, or even read a book and something to you seemed off? Well, this the reason why you should read. Reading helps writers catch mistakes in areas such as pacing, writing structure, character design, plot, settings, dialogue, and much more.
Essentially reading helps you identify problem areas in your own writing too. It expands your knowledge and helps you grow as a writer.
Beyond this little tidbit, it can also help you create your novel. Sometimes you may see a character design or plot you really enjoy and what to use something similar in your own story. You may also see a word that you never heard before or a phrase that you may want to use for yourself. Now you shouldn’t copy and paste anything from these stories, but they can help get your creative juices flowing. Especially if you are stuck.
Reading is useful and just think, these are only the ways it helps you as a writer!
What To Read and What to Look For
So now that you know you need to read, the next question is what to read? Well, that is the best thing, because it is entirely up to you! Find something you enjoy, something you feel does something bold. Preferably, it should be something in the genre you want to write in, but there is no requirement.
Now that you have selected your book its time to read it just like any reader would (if you haven’t already). Enjoy the book for what it is, in your own normal way. Now once you’ve read it, think about it, the parts you like, maybe something you didn’t.
Then go back through and read it again this time putting your writer’s cap on. Some questions you may ask:
How does the author structure their sentences? What words do they use and why? How do their characters come to life and how do they convey the setting? How do they get across to the reader what is happening? How is dialogue used?
Once you have asked these questions and answered them, the next step is to figure out how to use that to your advantage. How can you do something similar and perhaps make it better in your own unique way?
So I hope I’ve convinced you to read at least a little if it means aiding your writing. If for some reason you still don’t want to read then I would suggest playing games or watching movies with subtitles on. If you do this it will help, but not greatly. Just treat it like I mentioned above and consider those questions.
However, there is no real subsite for reading. I also notice some people will tell you to read inside and outside your genre. While I get the meaning behind this idea, I don’t feel it is a requirement. Just read and write what feels natural to you. If you do that, then someday you will see your books published. Just stick to it, for it is a long and winding road filled with many bumps and unforeseen trials! But I know you can do it. Just have some faith in yourself.
I also want to apologize and mention that the group thing won’t work out. While I think it was a good idea I realize how busy other people are and how new I am to social media! Let’s not forget how busy I am myself and how long it would take to run something like that. So for now, at least the idea is scratched.
But before I go I want to try and convince you one last time. Below you will find two links. One leads to my first piece of writing which I wrote before reading anything. The second while still having problems, was something I wrote shortly after finishing my first novel. I hope you can see the difference and I hope my past mistakes help encourage you to dodge the pitfalls I made, so you can come out of it a better writer. Take care everyone.
Before reading example: (Click Me)
After reading example: (Click Me)