How Writing Killed My Reading

(This is similar to video killing the radio star but different—have I dated myself yet?)

I am and always have been a reader. I was a lot more insatiable as a teenager, when I could lie on the couch and read the afternoon away. Now, surrounded by kids, critters, and a farmette that needs upkeep (oh, is it time to pick up eggs? is that some salsa that needs to be canned?), I don’t have nearly as much uninterrupted time to read. In fact, I do most of my reading listening while driving. I spend a fair amount of time on the road and find audio books are my best chance to squeeze in the latest on my TBR pile.

I used to sink deep into the story, falling into the world the author created, amazed at all the twists and turns. Then I started writing. Now, I find my reading is an exercise in craft refinement. How did she pull off that plot twist? What words did he use to create that feeling?

Here’s the biggie. It derails my surprise at most books I read. I used to think those small details were just that…small details. At the end of the book, when those things came back to be a major plot device, I was always surprised. Not anymore. Now as soon as I hear about the innocuous piece of paper on the street, I know it will come back. The casual piece of information tossed out by a major character will be a turning point later on.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy books anymore—I do. It’s just at a different level, a more critical thoughtful level. I don’t sink nearly as far because every book I read is a chance to improve my craft.

Let’s hear how your writing has changed your reading.