good writers do it

Imagine for a moment a young girl. She’s twelve years old and she’s a musical prodigy. She started studying the violin at age 3. She plays well enough now to play first chair in any orchestra in the world. Additionally, she has practically mastered the piano, the guitar and the French horn. You’d be hard pressed to find a piece for any of the instruments she plays that she cannot perform. She’s quite simply amazing.

Now imagine that she is giving an interview. Imagine the interviewer asking her a series of predictable questions: How long do you practice? When did you start playing? Do you find it easy to learn a new instrument? Which is your favorite instrument? Who is your favorite classical composer?

Stop.

On that last question, imagine that in response, the girl laughs and says, “Oh, I don’t like classical music.”

“But you play classical, correct?”

“Yes.”

“And I’m sure you listen to a lot of classical music…”

“No. None at all. I don’t like it. I don’t listen to it. I just play it.”

Hardly believable. To play classical music well, you have to listen to a lot of classical music. You have to absorb the subtleties of it. You must know the differences between composers and how their pieces are typically approached. You must be able to hear an entire orchestra and pick out the sound of a single instrument. Your instrument. And, most likely, you have to like classical music, because if you don’t, really, what’s the point?

It’s the same for writers. If you want to write well, you need to read. You need to read a lot. And yes, it’s good to read a variety, but if you know you want to write YA fiction, you should concentrate much of your reading time on YA fiction. You should find other YA fiction writers you like and study their craft. Know what makes them good. Learn from them. Enjoy them. Soak it in.

Good writers read. 

So make some time to read this week. It will, I assure you, make you a stronger writer.

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About Ash Martin
Ash Martin writes dark fantasy and horror, has a thing for classic monster legends, Nordic mythology, coffee, and sarcasm, and is currently working on multiple books.

2 Responses to good writers do it

  1. Julie says:

    Very excellent point. To be entirely honest though, I need to read nearly as much as I need to write, which is to say only slightly more than I need to breathe 🙂

    Like

    • dex says:

      I’m right there with you on that one. I love reading. I thrive on it, even. But, that said, I’ve talked to a surprising number of aspiring author who don’t read much…which I find puzzling and odd, but there you have it.

      Like

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