Reading As A Reader Versus Reading As A Writer

Now you may have read that title and thought to yourself, “Is she gaga? Reading as a reader and reading as a writer are entirely the same thing, you are just reading after all!” To those people I say, “Phooey!” partly because they are two completely different things, but mostly because I just enjoy saying, “Phooey!”

When you read as a reader you allow yourself to become immersed in the world of the story, when you read as a writer you allow yourself to become immersed in the writing.

Still sounds like the same thing?

Okay, well here’s an example.

To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name. In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex. It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler. All emotions, and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise but admirably balanced mind.

– Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, first paragraph from A Scandal In Bohemia 

As a reader I would comment on what happened and the characters involved. I would not, however, pay close attention to Doyle’s technique, choice of words, tone, or how he uses grammar.

As a writer, I look at all of those things.

I analyse what I’m reading. I re-read sections over and over until I feel I’ve taken everything I can from the text. I ask myself questions, “Why, ‘precise but admirably balanced’?” I look at the length of the sentences and the effect they have on the overall piece. If I change the lengths of the sentences, what happens then? What if Doyle had written; To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman, I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name. It changes the flow of the sentences and in doing so, it changes the tone of the entire piece.

When I’m reading as a writer I think of all these things, it helps me with my own writing. But as a reader, I don’t worry about it. I simply read the words as written, not looking at the technical aspect behind the writing.

Though I am a writer, I don’t always read as one. I am a writer, yes, but I am also a reader. More often than not, I read as a reader, which is how the writer intended the text to be read. But, I can’t always help it when I’m immersed in a text that is so beautifully written. Sometimes the words call for greater analysis. Sometimes the magic is in the writting, not the story.

Faithfully,

A Double Sided Book Lover

(a.k.a. A Reading Writer)

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