Read Like A Writer, Write Like A Reader

By Barbara Linn Probst

I d like to check out as a reader, but I find now that its often as a writer. I attempt to read like a reader but I catch myself seeing if the POV drifted slightly off or if the scene leapt without a clear explanation. When we check out, many of us toggle back-and-forth.

If you do not check out first as a reader, the story is no longer a masterpiece or mankind.
I would never ever want to forget that the story is composed for readers, that the author has something individual to convey, and is speaking with me, not demonstrating composing technique. I cant actually experience the story if all I care about is to study its writing, even if I naturally tend to observe the authors skill as I check out.

, if the book intrigues me enough Ill go back and go over as a writer so that I can understand how this particular book kept me turning the pages.
I wanted to analyze why it worked so well and what it was that made me lose myself.
The twist at the end exposed why the point-of-view character behaved as he did throughout the story. I needed to reread it with that understanding.

I check out like a reader who is a writer, suggesting that I just read, but in some cases take notes on things that impressed me about the writing.
A great book makes me stop to consider how she did that!
I frequently re-read a particular passage and think, “Now thats an excellent concept to describe xyz!”.
I attempt to read like a reader but I capture myself observing if the POV veered slightly off or if the scene leapt without a clear explanation. I find myself thinking: hmmm. Something was gotten rid of here and the shift is now bumpy.
Mainly as a reader but I in some cases stop dead as an author to be or appreciate a fantastic sentence stunned by bad method.

When again, I asked. More than fifty individuals on several writer groups I belong to reacted to my question: “How do you check out? Do you lose yourself in the story (as a reader might) or read to study how the author did it (as a writer might)?”.

Numerous people kept in mind how important it was to experience the story as a reader, before all else.


” It depends upon the quality of the book.”.

” I switch back and forth.”.

If the book is really good, I lose myself in it and forget to “check out like a writer,” even if I wish to and try to.
An excellent story pirates my brain and turns me back into a reader!
I tend to check out like an author and begin seeing the issues if its a book with problems.
A poorly-written book will break the spell and trigger that inner critic.

On the other hand, some people felt that the writer-brain interfered, even with well-written books, and frequently destroyed their pleasure.

Then a second time as a writer, paying more attention to how it was written rather than what its about.
If a book wows me, Ill reread it, sometimes to be wowed once again, in some cases to study strategy to understand why it wowed me.
I go back and attempt to figure out what precisely created that response if its incredible or I could not put it down.

For some, the “toggling” takes place as they go. While primarily “simply checking out,” they may stop to note something the writer did that they admired– or to recoil when something is jarring.

I go back and read the book a second time.

With an incredibly good book, many individuals said that they read for satisfaction the very first time, and then go back to re-read with their “writer-brains” so they can concentrate on craft and identify what the author did that was so effective.

That may sound obvious, but I know I can end up being caught up in craft and strategy– the sort of things that writers care about. I can invest hours stressing about removing “deadweight” or browsing for the ideal word to communicate the meaning Im after. These things are part of our craft, I suspect that theyre not the things that readers care about.

Barbara is also the author of the groundbreaking book on supporting out-of-the-box kids, When The Labels Dont Fit. She has a PhD in scientific social work, blog sites for several acclaimed websites for authors, and is a major amateur pianist. Her second book releases in April 2021. To find out more about Barbara and her work, please see

Most of us were readers before we became writers, and would most likely agree that our reading experience affects our experience as authors. What takes place when a writer opens a book and shifts to her reader-identity?

Endorsed by very popular authors such as Christina Baker Kline and Caroline Leavitt, Queen of the Owls was picked as one of the 20 most awaited books of 2020 by Working Mother, one of the finest Spring fiction books by Parade Magazine, and a debut novel “too excellent to ignore” by Bustle. Barbaras book-related short article, “Naked: Being Seen is Liberating however terrifying,” appeared in Ms. Magazine on May 27.

Once, individuals dealt with that obstacle in various ways– usually by toggling back and forth or by checking out a book more than.

These reflections use an extra reminder. Its essential to remember that were writing for the reader– to offer the reader that immersive experience of falling under the spell of the story, the same experience that we ourselves delight in!

This was specifically so for books that had efficient twists and turns.

Writer-mind can interfere, and I want it didnt! Its a real downer.
I d like to check out like a reader but it can be really tough.
The inner writer critic comes out far too typically. I discover myself pulled from the story.
I d like to check out as a reader, however I find now that its often as an author. Oh, theres THAT trope. Oh, what a great usage of interjection. Whys she switching POV now? Hah, fantastic discussion! Ooh, what a terrific way to describe that expression. Ah, she simply raised the stakes. Its kind of frustrating due to the fact that I miss out on simply reading for enjoyment.

The actions can be summed up into 3 huge concepts.

More than fifty individuals on numerous author groups I belong to reacted to my concern: “How do you check out? Do you lose yourself in the story (as a reader might) or check out to study how the author did it (as an author might)?”.

For others, the 2 procedures occur together with one another, as if various parts of the self are engaged in various methods.

The author can still believe along the way, while the reader feels.
I check out like both: like a chef taking pleasure in a meal prepared by somebody else, who cant help finding out how it was prepared and what active ingredients went into it. Or like a singer listening to another singer, and valuing how they deal with reaching difficult notes and where strategy makes up for singing flaws.

Barbara Linn Probst is an author of both fiction and non-fiction, living on a historical dirt roadway in New Yorks Hudson Valley. Her launching book, Queen of the Owls (April 2020), is the effective story of a womans look for wholeness, framed around the art and life of renowned American painter Georgia OKeeffe.

Story. Characters. Meaning.

Isnt that what we care about too, when we remain in our reader-selves? Numerous of us toggle back-and-forth when we check out. When we compose– balancing our search for the greatest level of craft we can muster and our sensation for the reader, we likewise require to toggle back-and-forth.

Prior to I turned to fiction, I was a hybrid of academic and therapist. There was a truism in scientific practice that having been in treatment made you a better therapist– a complex question, difficult to show, although we always motivated trainees to experience therapy themselves before trying to offer it to others.

What about you? How do you check out? Do you discover yourself changing into your writer-brain when you check out? If so, what sets off the switch? Please show us down in the comments!

For some, there was a clear difference in how they check out “well-written books” and how they read “poorly-written books.”.

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