Thursday, July 11, 2013

Become A Slow Reader

Learning to write sound, interesting, sometimes elegant prose is the work of a lifetime. The only way I know to do it is to read a vast deal of the best writing available, prose and poetry, with keen attention, and find a way to make use of this reading in one's own writing. The first step is to become a slow reader. No good writer is a fast reader, at least not of work with the standing of literature. Writers perforce read differently from everyone else. 

Most people ask three questions of what they read: 
(1) What is being said?
(2) Does it interest me?
(3) Is it well constructed? 
Writers also ask these questions, but two others along with them: 
(4) How did the author achieve the effects he has? 
(5) What can I steal, properly camouflaged of course, from the best of what I am reading for my own writing? 

This can slow things down a good bit.


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