Saturday, June 5, 2010

What's Your Reading Style?

I’m normally a pretty fast reader. I gobble up books like some people go for chocolate or ice cream. I definitely don’t read every word. However, I slow down if a story really catches my interest, or if I really love the writing style or characters and I don’t want the book to end (e.g. most Jodi Picoult novels). Sometimes, I intentionally skim sections of a book that don’t catch my attention, because I just want to find out what happens. What I might skip over:

1) Backstory that doesn’t seem relevant to what’s happening
2) Sections following a subplot that doesn’t interest me
3) Long descriptions that (I think) get in the way of the story
4) Too much detail in explaining what a character is thinking

My reading style has an impact on my writing. When I write, I try to include only what’s relevant for the character’s situation at the moment. I tend not to use much description – I'll often have to go back and add some to create a more well-rounded picture. Does your reading style affect your writing?


  1. Definitely! I also skim over lengthy description and backstory, so I try to keep these elements thin in my own writing. Info dumps also make my eyes glaze over unless they are (very) cleverly disguised.

  2. I just finished "reading" a book that I gave up on about a third of the way through except for wanting to find out the solution to the main plot. So I was doing MAJOR skimming. What will make me do that: Lack of MC motivation, implausibilities, a subplot I don't care for, just a sense that nothing is happening.

  3. Marcia, it's hard to finish reading those kinds of books. It can be so disappointing sometimes.

    Vonna, one of the things that reading does for me is make me more sensitive to places in my own writing where it might get boring. Though sometimes what you think is interesting may not be to someone else.


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