One of the best ways to become a better writer is by reading. By reading, you can learn how to improve your writing through observation. You can also learn about new techniques and develop a unique style for yourself.
If you want to become a better writer, books can get you there. No matter the genre, reading is an essential piece of the puzzle for writers.
Read to learn creative writing strategies, word choice strategies, and syntax control that will supplement your own writing abilities.
Reading Expands Your Thinking
While you may think of reading to discover style or vocabulary, at the highest level, reading expands your thinking. Reading generates divergent thinking. Divergent thinking generates creative ideas.
Divergent thinking explores many possibilities and solutions in a non-linear process. While you are reading, you form new ideas.
You expand your thinking about your current writing project or discover ideas for a subsequent project.
Reading is an idea generator.
Reading Refines Your Critical Thinking
Because you discover a wealth of ideas, you expand the choices for decision-making about your own writing. Decision-making is the process of making choices by gathering information, assessing alternative resolutions, and choosing the best option as the final resolution.
What makes a great book for you? How does your favorite author use theme or subtext? If you can critically assess a book and determine what makes good writing good, you will be better able to bring a similar thoughtfulness to your own work.
As a writer, you have a multitude of choices about how to construct your mystery novel. From characters and dialogue to tone and sentence length your choices result in the final version of your story.
Reading Reveals Different Writing Styles
Reading different styles of books exposes you to a variety of mechanics and stylistic choices that make various genres of writing work. That is why it is important to read outside of your own genre, mystery.
Style is how you tell the story. You may have a great plot for your mystery, but unless your style is engaging, you will lose readers.
Reading a variety of styles helps you make stylistic choices for your own work and develop your own unique writing style.
Reading Demonstrates Grammar in Context
Grammar in context shows you how other writers communicate with the use of sentence structure, phrasing, and punctuation.
Without studying a grammar textbook, you’ll see how subordinate clauses embellish a thought or how a sentence fragment emphasizes a point.
Reading a wide variety of books will probably teach you more about grammar usage than any textbook.
Reading Inspires Fresh Ideas
Regular reading exposes you to new ideas and techniques. You reinvigorate your creative juices and inspire new ideas for your writing project.
The first-person narration is filled with subtext that would be difficult to write in a third-person point of view. The staccato sentences imply urgency even when they fill the story with details.
Reading Expands Your Vocabulary
Words are the building blocks of writing. Reading exposes you to new ways to use familiar words and introduces new words that you can incorporate into your own writing.
The more words you know, the easier it is for you to use the right word as you write. Your writing will flow without you having to stop to search for the right word to express your idea.
Read as a Writer
Reading is a step in the writing process. Reading makes stories vivid, human, and readable. Reading teaches you a lot by providing necessary information and the opportunity to think about what you have read and how you feel about what you’ve read.
Reading can also shape your initial thoughts about your current writing project. Many times, you will find yourself thinking about how your character felt or what your protagonist wanted before you pick up your pen and start writing.
The more you read and use specific writing techniques to analyze a text, the more you will improve as a writer. And while these are just a few methods to help you develop your own style, they’re just a small sample of why reading is so important: a well-read author is a well-rounded author, meaning you’ll likely develop your own voice (and style) as a writer.