5 Reasons Writers Should Read.

Keep reading as you write.

As a tutor, I always remind my students of the importance of reading. Whether you are writing novels, blogs, scripts for film, tv radio, game or theatre as well as non-fiction even for work, you should be reading what everyone else is doing. So I’ve put together some writing tips, 5 reasons why reasons is important as a writer.

Reason One.

Book stores know what sell.

It’s give you an idea what is out there. The chances are if you by your book from a store, it is more likely to be from a publishing house. Meaning a team of experts have deemed that this book fitted in with current trends of what the reading public want. If you intend to sell you book, then this is a huge help. Not just in knowing what is fashionable, but where you book could fit in and with which publisher.

Reason Two

Reading helps you to develop you own style. Like when as a child you watched a parent or adult cook, you learn how to do the basics. As an adult in your own kitchen you add your own twist to the recipe. That’s exactly what reading as a writer does.

When you start out writing, you just write what comes into your head. No thought is out into what ingredients you need and the quantity, , you simply throw is all in!

The more you read you will pick up on nuances of dialogue, delve deeper into characters, notice the plot turns and twists and where they start to develop. It improves you grammar and language skills. Never a bad thing!

Each writer has their own Writer’s DNA, it comes from who you are and how you got there, making it pretty unique stuff!

That same DNA, effects our interpretation of books. This is what makes up your writing style, so keeping reading!

Reason Three

This one is my favourite, RESEARCH.

The Long Room,Trinity College Library

For any writer, you SHOULD be researching. It doesn’t matter what you are writing there should be an element of looking stuff up.

Let’s start with location. You decide to set your story in a place you have never been. So how do you it’s suitable for your story? How will the characters react to their environment? How will it help your story progress? Science dictions writers haven’t been to the moon, but they can read about temperatures and conditions, they can read science and technology journals to understand what we can currently achieve and what we hope to achieve, with a writers imagination you can take this further!

I love to read up on psychology, I find it a great way of developing intriguing characters with realistic flaws, such as the habits of a stalker.

Don’t let NOT researching limit what you write!

Reason Four

Expand your horizons.

Reading is one of the best tools for doing this. Whether you want to learn a new skill such as writing for film or learn about Restoration Theatre (my current expansion project), there is always an expert on the subject who has already written the book. Not sure where to start? Your local library can help or try a social media group will probably have lots of recommendations or you.

And finally,

Reason Five.

Question Time.

Reading a novel as a writer should make you want to ask questions.

Did you enjoy the story and why?

Where all the characters believable? Did you empathise with them and their situation?

Where all the loose ends tied up when the story ended?

How did the story make you feel? Were you eager to turn the next page?

Would you recommend this book to someone else and why?

I’m sure you can think of lots more questions, your readers will.

So start thinking like a reader when you write and keep asking questions of your own work.

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Sneaky Speak.

Sneaky Pete (2015) Directed Seth Gordon; Written by David Shore and Brian Cranston.

This is crime drama that Amazon keeps adding to my time line, so I thought would give in to peer pressure and watch it.

Pete and Marius are in prison, Marius a ‘confidence’ man is getting parole, while Pete won’t be sleeping in his own bed for some-time, the consequences of holding up a gun range.  From the opening voice over, we immediately know who the ‘real Pete’ is. He is sentimental for outdoors of his youth, loves his family and knew where he belonged. Marius’s tone and his request to Pete to shut up, that his was probably the polar opposite. By the time he is leaving Marius is ready to switch persona, to Pete.

The dialogue throughout this pilot episode is fast paced, yet wordy, it depicts cultural characteristic’s, in concise punchy lines.  But it’s the ease of the switch, the ability to summarise his potential ‘con’ where Pete I at his strongest. Pretending to be Pete, engaging with his long-lost family, Marius uses careful pauses and listening to understand where a conversation is going and how to respond.  The responses ‘Pete’ receives prove he is believed. His con is working.

 

“One Batch Two Batch…”

Daredevil Season 2 Episode 4 Penny and Dime  –

Dir: Peter Hoar; Written By: John C. Kelly

We watch film and TV to escape, to forget and also to grow.  Through these characters we according to Cohen (2013:183), expand are own ’emotional and mental lives’ beyond that of personal experience.  We identify with both the characters and their situation, we empathise with them and understand their goals, we make a connection, become invested in their outcome and are interest is caught.

Netflix’s, Marvel’s Daredevil second antagonist, Frank Castle, is a war veteran, a US marine corps sniper, he has taken out entire gangs. We know he is dangerous.

Karen, a reporter is at Castle’s home. A regular family home with photos of his wife and kids in various stages of growing up, of castle in fatigues, a medal of Honour proudly displayed,  a book is in his daughters room, the words emblazoned on the pages, the words Castle says before he pulls the trigger “One Batch Two Batch”, his daughters favourite book.  We recognise the kids trainers on the stairs, the box of kid’s toys, we too have family photo’s on the mantlepiece.

Rescued by Daredevil, Castle tells of the murder of his family by a gang in a park. We empathise with him, this could have been any family, this has never happened to you, but your gut wrenches too, we cry.  We understand his needs and goals, we want revenge too.

The story feels real, you have felt raw emotion, mirrored the feelings on screen. He maybe on a rampage, but he has damn good reason. He maybe seen as the antagonist to the vigilante Daredevil but he isn’t evil, he isn’t your typical bad guy. And because of this you have a strong connection for him to get his revenge, to see his goal through to the end, you want it to be alright for him. You have connected, you are invested as much as Castle. You have identified with the character and his situation.

As Cohen (2013:186) points out this is an active psychological state, just one of the many ways we respond to film and TV.

 

 Cohen J. (2013). Chapter 11. Audience Identification with media characters in  Jennings, Bryant and Vorderer, Peter.(eds)  Psychology of Entertainment. London. Routledge