All budding writers should take a moment to read this interesting post from

Bloomsbury Publishing, answering the age old question, should a writer read a lot…will it help or hinder their writing by causing the writer to copy someone else’s style?

 The Writers’ & Artists’ team say:

‘It is easy to find yourself flummoxed by the deluge of conflicting writing advice available, but the answer to this question is satisfyingly simple: writers must read.

William Faulkner once wrote: “Read, read, read. Read everything – trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out the window.”
As avid writers (and readers), the Writers’ & Artists’ team would like to add an addendum to William’s advice: of course writers should read, read, read, but read with focus, read with awareness and read effectively.

Here is the Writers’ & Artists’ list of 5 things to look out for when reading with awareness:

  1. Setting – where and when is it set? How does the author convey the setting? Which senses are being used?
  2. Perspective – who is telling the story? Are they a reliable narrator? How does their relationship to the story affect the way it is presented to the reader?
  3. Character – who are the key characters? What are we explicitly told about each character and what are we subtly shown? Focusing on the key characters, what are their motivations? What obstacles do they face?
  4. Structure – does the story unfold linearly or does it jump about in time? How does this affect our understanding of the events? Mark the points of crises, tension, climax and the final dénouement.
  5. Style – how are the sentences constructed? Are they short and punchy or long and carefully embellished? How does this impact on the pace?’
JMD wholeheartedly agrees with this advice; reading a broad range of material can open your eyes to styles of writing you’ve never even contemplated and by working out what you do and don’t like to read you can start to find and cement your own voice and style.
Why not visit the library or download an e-book from a completely different genre than you’re used to…you never know you might just like it!
For copy editing services,manuscript advice or help with your writing contact JMD Editorial and Writing Services today.