Read The Bestsellers With A Critical Eye
Cultivate Excellent Reading Skills
To become an excellent writer, it doesn’t go without saying that you also have to cultivate excellent reading habits.
No, it’s not enough to read only blog posts and the current rags, but make time for more than the cursory reading of best sellers.
Reading is like an apprenticeship and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with learning from the high achievers of the literary world.
Many people want to become the next big or upcoming author, yet it will amaze you how many of these people don’t bother to read the authors that are successful. I’ve had a number of closet writers tell me that they don’t read best sellers because most of them are rip offs and crap.
Some time ago, I mentioned in a blog post that I was reading ‘A Prisoner of Birth:‘ by Jeffrey Archer, and another blogger went full frontal attack on J. Archer and how he hires a team of writers to do his writing. How he has probably never written a full novel blah, blah.
To say the least, that was a put-off that left a negative impression.
The Quirky Excuses For Not Reading Bestsellers
- The notion that best sellers are rip-off’s and crap
If the idea of hiring a team of writers to hash out an idea into a book is a crime, then I’ll probably become guilty of such crime myself – hopefully, sometime in the future.
We all know that writing series of best-selling novels is not an easy feat. I’ve not written one yet, but from my writing experience, I can imagine how mentally draining and flat ass working hours are spent constructing such engaging novels.
If a writers life could be made easier by engaging others to help out with a project, then I say ‘good for them,’ besides, they are providing some income to these ghost writers as well as providing grounds for the background writer to hone his/her skills.
When someone takes the pain to describe a best seller as crap, they usually offer lame statements like:
“Oh, I read classics.” There’s absolutely nothing wrong with reading Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, Virginia Woolf, Fitzgerald and the host of dead writers out there, but the problem with this argument is that you can’t enter the huge ever-changing marketplace of books if you don’t know what the trend is and what buyers are looking out for.
Reading classics is brilliant, but a good number of them are not that hot now and you are certainly not going to attract a lot of millennial plus other living readers by writing Shakespearian prose. Your first lesson is to learn how to write for the people buying books now.
If you’re a romance writer, explore best-selling romance novels from writers like Jude Deveraux, Nora Roberts, Johanna Lindsay, Lisa Kleypas, if you’re a horror writer, delve into some Stephen King, Anne Rice, Dean Koontz and co.
Don’t reinvent the wheel. Learn by reading the best works in the genre of your interest and this includes reading their début novels that helped them to break into the business.
The critical study of these will be time well spent that would help you break in, too and in the long run.
- The ‘I have to be original and uninfluenced by them,’ retort.
There’s a popular saying that everything has been written about everything. Well, as long as I haven’t written mine, that’s not true.
I’ve heard severally the argument of having your own voice and not losing it and the notion that reading these best sellers might make you start writing like them. Oh, how I wish! I would count myself lucky if I should write like the greats.
This shouldn’t be a problem. Your diverse reading, experience and individuality counteract this notion and except you are stealing someone’s work, learning how to chart your story from those who have excelled in it is certainly not a bad thing.
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