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The Two Questions Writers Should Ask When Reading

Reading as a writer is very different to reading for the sake of reading, but it’s surprisingly easy to learn how to read a book, dissect it and learn from it to benefit your own writing.

Watch the video or read the transcript below to find out how to make it work for you.

I want to talk to you today about books, about reading books as a writer.
This came about because I do this with basically every book I read.

I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction recently, and I’ve doing this with the non-fiction. I read my first novel in quite a few months and it was so good. It hit me in the face that I haven’t done this in a while.
I haven’t broken down a book that I love in a while.

The book I couldn’t put down was Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames. Now, when I fall in love with a book I get a touch obsessed. I highly recommend it.

So, how do you break down a book and learn writing lessons from it?
By asking two questions.

Why?

Ask yourself why you love this book. Or why you hate it.
What is it about the book that draws you in or makes you struggle?

How?

Then ask yourself how you think the author did that.

I think you learn these basic skills at school during English lessons, but I started consciously doing this in my early twenties when I was nose deep in a Discworld novel.

I put the book down after a reading session and realised with a jolt that I was already over half way through. But nothing much had happened yet…and still I could not put the book down.

How was Terry Pratchett doing this?

Back then, I was awful with plot. So I started to break down how he structured the book, the pacing, the settings, what he focused on.

Then, I went and applied what I’d learned to my own writing.

These things happen gradually. It’s all a learning curve, but this is essentially how you learn to write.
Question how other authors do something, break it down, work it out, see what you like and then apply it to your own writing. Experiment and test it, break it down further until you find what works for you.

Two 
questions 
all writers
 should ask 
when 
reading

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