Should Writers Read? …. A thought

You know I read a shocking statistic recently, 82% of young people in the UK don’t read for pleasure. It made me kind of sad to think that television, movies, Nintendo Wii and the PS3 are converting our future generation into couch potatoes devoid of imagination and purpose.

I have travelled quite a long and varied path before I realized I wanted to be a writer, doing seemingly unrelated jobs which usually had an artistic or writing element but through it all I have always read for fun.

As much as I enjoy computer games television and cinema (and I do) they will never be able to match the potential imagery your imagination can produce.

I read mostly fiction because that’s where my interest lies. When I pick up a book by Stephen King, James Herbert or Dean Koontz I very quickly find myself lost in the world they have created. The beauty is that once I am in that world it is no longer theirs, it is mine. They will describe the essential parts I need to know to highlight a particular character or to drive the plot forward but will leave ample breathing room so my imagination can fill in the blanks. Let’s take this section from Velocity By Dean Koontz…

Although he had the head reminiscent of a squash ball and the heavy rounded shoulders of a sumo wrestler, Ned was an athletic man only if you thought barroom jabber and grudge-holding qualified as sports. In those events, he was an Olympian.

After reading this for the first time I had a perfect complete mental image of Ned, any film or pictorial depiction of him presented to me after that point was almost guaranteed to be a disappointment. I can also guarantee to within a certain degree of accuracy that your own depiction of Ned will be equally as brilliant and completely unique to you.

Reading is to my mind essential to any writer. How many times have you wanted to describe something but couldn’t find the right words? The more I read the less that happens.

The correct grammar, how much of a character or plot to give to the reader, and at which point the many ways of depicting an emotion is delivered are all generously donated to the aspiring writer by their literary heroes.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post and my morning ramblings, all thoughts and comments as always very welcome x

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