Start writing fiction: characters and stories
Start writing fiction: characters and stories

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Start writing fiction: characters and stories

Week 7: Reading as a writer

Introduction

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Transcript

DEREK NEALE:
You’re nearly there! Welcome to week 7 of Start Writing Fiction.
As we’ve seen, reading is an all-important way of feeding your own work. What you’ve started to do is read as a writer.
Seeing how other people do things is invaluable. Writing without reading is to write in the dark: it might work, but it’s a handicap.
Being well-read isn’t just about quantity but more a question of immersion, and familiarising yourself with how books feel.
Reading is another way of developing the ‘habit’ of writing.
Books are a great comfort to any writer: you can see how others have faced the same problems you face.
When you’re reading as a writer, even people’s ‘mistakes’ are invaluable. If you think a book doesn’t work, just articulating why will be useful.
This week we’ll hear from authors Louis de Bernières, Patricia Duncker and Alex Garland talking about the importance of reading.
You’ll get to write a review of a book or story you’ve enjoyed, as well as reading an extract from Toni Morrison’s novel Jazz.
You’ll hone your critical and editing skills. And you’ll start editing and redrafting your final story.
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Throughout this course you have read stories and extracts from established writers. Reading is an important way to expand your own work.

A writer has permanent access to the best teaching: in novels and short stories. In terms of technique, nothing is or can be hidden: it’s all there on the page. It’s up to the person reading as a writer to ‘unpack’ how a novel has been made.

Starting out, and throughout a writer’s career, seeing how other people do things is invaluable. Writing without reading is to write in the dark: it might work, but it’s an unnecessary handicap.

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