What drives me crazy

I need to vent. Somebody just said something that almost pushed me over the edge. It was a gentleman looking for some help with his writing, and he asked me to read something for him, and I asked him what sorts of things he likes to read and he said, “Oh I don’t read. I don’t have time for it.  You might just as well hit me with a stick. First of all, if you don’t read, but you’re writing, that means you are expecting other people to do the exact thing you don’t have time to do. Or to put it another way, You expect me to read your book, but you will not read mine. Why? That’s just me being petty, of course. The deeper reason is that we learn so much from reading. Every time you read a book, you are absorbing structure. You may not be conscious of it at the time, but it’s happening. Your mind is storing away all these templates and so when you start to lay out your story, your mind will automatically help you do what you need to do.  Alternatively, if you do not read, you do not absorb that structure and very bad things happen. I promise. I teach a novel-writing class (and they are very good writers!) and there is nothing so fun as when we all begin discussing the books we’ve been reading. Novelists have a passion for books. This is how it should be. We know we’re part of a wide community of people and we respect that community. Or, as the great Stephen King writes, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write.” Amen! How about you? What issues push your buttons?

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