Friday, November 18, 2011
A Writer Reads
When we moved three years ago, I got rid of a lot of books, keeping only the ones I thought I'd enjoy reading again. Now I've had the opportunity to do just that, and it's been something of a mixed blessing for me.
I still recall the editor who told me to read Peace Like A River. That was what good Christian fiction was like. I read it, and although I've forgotten a number of the plot points, I still recall my reaction when I finished it: I'll never be able to write this well.
I haven't reached the level of Leif Enger, and realize I never will. I also haven't learned to write like John Grisham, Robert B. Parker, Robert Crais, Lawrence Block, Michael Connolly, James Scott Bell or Michael Palmer. But I enjoy reading their work, and have to admit that from each one of them I learn a little something about catching the reader's attention, drawing them into the plot, making them turn the pages. Alton Gansky told me years ago that, once you start writing, you'll never read the same way again. I've found that true, but it hasn't taken away from my enjoyment.
Writers, do you think you read differently than you did before you dived into the profession? And readers, what traits of your favorite writers do you admire?