Writing Tips – Proper Reading Habits

Writing Tips – Proper Reading Habits

As a writer, it’s important to know how to read. I know that sounds crazy. Of course you know how to read, but I’m talking about “active” reading. Have a specific purpose in mind when you read. For example, you wouldn’t study an algebra textbook in the same way you would read a comic book. As a writer, you should read to discover the author’s techniques.

To better focus your mind for active reading, don’t get comfortable. Sit at a desk with a highlighter or use pen and paper to take notes. If you highlight in the book, don’t get carried away with marking whole paragraphs. Underline only the important points you want to delve into.

When you see a passage that you like, ask yourself why you like it. If you have a question about the passage, ask yourself why the author wrote it the way he/she did. What effects did you like in the passages and why?

Notice how the author set the scene, built the characters, used metaphors, similes or personifications and how effective they were. How did he use noun and verb modifiers? How did he handle dialog tags (the part that follows the quote marks)? Read a passage and try to duplicate it without looking. When you write your own scenes, remember those techniques. Get more free writing tips in The Writer’s Choice Newsletter at http://www.creativewritinginstitute.com. Hey – don’t leave yet. Make a comment first! 🙂


12 thoughts on “Writing Tips – Proper Reading Habits

  1. Hi Deb,
    I love your term “Active Reading” I have done this for years, enjoy it so
    much that I always get excited over what I learn!
    “Oh Happy Day”! I love that song,


    1. Almost every experienced writer will tell you that they have lost the ability to read a story or watch a movie for pure pleasure. They study the plot line, clues, structure, arcing, and resolutions so much that they are barely aware of the actual story. This was probably the greatest sacrifice that I ever made, but I had no say in it. It’s something that happens automatically.


  2. Well, what can I say, I am just so excited about cwi, creative writing institute,
    I learn new things each time I write or look over the great site with so many
    special writing tips that is posted in there, I was never able to connect with other
    writing sites as with this one , I am a senior at 76yrs old , and many say I am too old to learn, but not this young lady, Ms Deb stated in in her article ,
    “You are never too old to learn ” and that is what ” I ” was looking for ,
    Wow ! my faith just skyrocketed right then……. I sent her an email immediately for she had already invited me to write and get to know her,
    Oh what a joy it has been ever since the first day I sent the email,
    I am very grateful to her, I’m like a kid with a new toy,!
    Thank you Deb, you continue to amaze me each time I write.
    It truly encourages me to study more and harder,in everything I work with,
    God bless you as you work to help us,……


  3. Hi Deb,
    I learned to read and take notes when I learned to study my bible,
    I always enjoyed reading, but enjoy it more now ; I ask myself questions,
    ( that may not make sense ) in reading a novel but it does with the bible,
    I also read & reread many portions to really get a better picture, like the guy
    speaking about finding time/making time to enjoy your reading/writing.

    I’m really just starting to understand reading/writing better since I joined
    CWI ….. Creative Writing Institute a few months ago,


    1. Hi Sonny – Thanks for stopping by. I have NO idea why this is showing a post from 2010 when I made a new one on here today. Will have to check that out as soon as I can.

      I like the way you study. I do much the same. Keep up the good work! Deb


  4. Great suggestions. My profs have talked about all of this – reading as a writer as opposed to reading as a reader. We need to recognize not only what effect the writer created, but how they created that effect–and how we can do the same. 🙂


    1. It took me years to learn this! I kept getting lost in reading the story and forgot to pay attention on how it was put together. Now it’s the opposite. I can’t read for pure enjoyment – unless you call analyzing enjoyment. Thanks for your input, Bonnie.


  5. Hi Deb. I love to read, and I read as much as I possibly can. I like to read almost any kind of fiction – some is purely for relaxation and fun (I call it vacation reading) and some is more serious reading, like what you describe here. I don’t use a highlighter,but that sounds like it would be a good idea!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s