Reading as a Writer

Once you officially realise you’re a writer, reading a book is never the same again.

Yes, you can still get swept away with the story and enjoy turning the pages, but there will always be that part of you that silently (or, not so silently) critiques the book as you read it.

Since committing to becoming a writer, the way I read a book has changed dramatically.

First, here is how I used to read a book, when I was a ‘reader’ only:

Reading, reading…

Oooh, I like the sound of him…

Reading, reading…


Reading, reading…


Reading, reading…

Geez this is getting good…

*Phone rings*

Bugger off, I’m trying to read…

Reading, reading… (at 1am if it’s a page-turner)

The End.

Good book, can’t wait for the next one!


Okay, here is how I read now, as a ‘writer’:

Reading, reading…

I can really picture these characters

Reading, reading…

That’s a great way to show the conflict

Reading, reading…

Wait, do I detect some head-hopping going on here?

Reading, reading…

This protagonist sure has a strong motivation to reach her goal

Reading, reading…


Reading, reading…


Reading, reading…

Damn! Why couldn’t I have written that?

Reading, reading…

*Jots down new idea for a novel*

Reading, reading…

Concupiscent? *Googles concupiscent*

*Adds concupiscent to list of ‘words I must use sometime so people think I’m intelligent’.

Reading, reading…

*Phone rings*

I better get that; it might be a publisher offering me a contract.

Reading, reading…

Oh, It wasn’t by the way.

Reading, reading…

Aha! I have a great idea *jots down notes frantically until 2am*

*falls asleep and loses place in book*

Reading, reading… (two weeks later)

I can’t remember what’s been happening, better go back to the start…

Reading, reading… (repeat above process)

(eventually) The End.

Good book, can’t wait till someone reads mine!


Now that I’m a writer, one thing’s for sure; no matter whether the book I’m reading is fantastic or just ‘okay’, I always appreciate the effort the author has put into it.

So how about you? If you’re a writer, do you find this affects your reading? If you’re a reader, do you find it easy to get totally absorbed by a book, or do you also stop here and there and notice the craft that’s gone into the book?

P.S – I bet some of you are now googling ‘concupiscent’!

About Juliet Madison

Humorous & Heartwarming Fiction ~ Experience the magic of life and love...

Posted on March 15, 2011, in General, Life, Writing. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Not only has the aspirations of being one has impacted the way I read books, it has impacted the way I watch movies!

    I’m right on track with your line of thought, the only difference with mine is, I read the book twice; once as a reader, the 2nd time to dissect it. Same with movies, but you’re spot on!

    • I’m finding I do the same with movies too!, although not as much as with books. I like recognising the structure behind a movie, and how they use dialogue to move the story forward.
      That’s a good idea to read a book twice, might try that (if I can switch off my internal critic for a while 😉 )

  2. It takes me a long time to read a book because ‘as a writer’ I analyze everything. I often think I’d make a better editor or proofreader, than trying to be a novelist. I guess it has made me a better reader and ‘writer’ because of this process.

  3. When I was a little boy, my mom took me to the library every week, and I read as many books as they’d let me check out. Reading was always fun, and I wasn’t very analytical about it until I got to medical school.

    Even now, except for medical articles where I can be too serious, I view books as fun; a lark. I figure if I get a few new ideas from each one I read that is good enough, and I’m not too critiical. The down side is I’m a lousy editor.

    As a writer it was all for fun, too. As far as I know I’m the world’s only physician bluegrass fiction writer. My book, “The Mandolin Case,” is a medical legal mystery resolved by musicians.

    My day job is a serious biz. Writing isn’t a matter of life and death; it’s a lot more serious than that.

    Dr. B

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