Writers Read, Part I: Why Read?

Literature Influences Your Writing

Never Stop Reading

Writers tell aspiring writers, “Never stop reading.” They may also say, “Read broadly and deeply.” Why? And what does broadly and deeply mean?

I covered broad and deep reading in my Read Like a Writer: Part II post a while back.

Basically, reading deeply means to read several novels in a specific genre. Typically, a reader will read deeply in their genre or genres. Reading broadly means reading in all the other genres. I covered genres in that same post.

Specifically, why do writers read? That seems like a silly question. I can’t imagine a writer who doesn’t read, and if they haven’t read, I can’t imagine how they could write well.

Writers never stop reading because reading inspires us, cues us into style, and keeps our own voice relevant to the modern reader and our target audience while learning from authors of decades past. To not read means your writing will suffer. It means you won’t be aware of the current market: what’s being published.

Literary & Genre

I’ve read both literary and genre. I may have even read more literary than genre. Well, that might be a stretch. What I can say is that I’ve read thoroughly and analyzed thoroughly literary more than genre. In fact, I’d say I learned more from reading literary than genre. Literary helped me hone my genre writing and understand key concepts such as debasing my language. And, while I can see the logic in a writer saying there’s no need to read the classics, I’ve learned too much from the classics to agree. I’m going to stop there because this post will get way too long for what I want to go into next.

My Next Post

In my next post, I’ll introduce several authors and their writing (short stories and novels, genre and literary, fiction and nonfiction) to include Joyce Carol Oates, Wells Tower, Magnus Mills, Vladimir Nabokov, Anthony Bourdain, Philip K. Dick, Anthony Burgess, William Gibson, Italo Calvino, William Faulkner, T. C. Boyle, and others.

Author: Chuck Lang

Chuck Lang is a writer of science fiction and horror. Influenced by his years as a carpenter, four years serving in the US Navy, and his fifteen years teaching literature, he holds an MFA in Writing (Fiction) from Lindenwood University. After completing his first manuscript, the supernatural horror novel DEAD GODS, in 2019, he has begun work on its two sequels, DEAD GODS: INHERITANCE and DEAD GODS: RESOLUTION. He is currently developing two additional projects, an urban fantasy horror novel and a military science fiction novel. He lives and writes near the frequently flooded Red River in Fargo, ND with his wife and two redhead sons.

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