Reading is a double-edged sword for writers. If you love books, there aren’t many things as enjoyable as sipping a cup of java as you immerse yourself in a great story. It doesn’t matter if it’s a legal thriller by John Grisham or a science fiction novel by Robert J. Sawyer, you’re drawn in from the first paragraph and there’s no escape until you reach the last page. I recently read the novel Absolute Power by David Baldacci, and then the adapted screenplay by William Goldman, and both were page-turners.
Reading, however, is more than something you enjoy, it’s essential for anyone who strives to become a world-class writer. You won’t learn how to write great action sequences by watching movies. You may learn how action sequences are filmed, but you won’t learn how to use words to make a reader’s pulse race.
Every novel, short story or screenplay written by someone who knows their craft, is like a master’s class in writing, waiting for you to attend. It’s where you learn how to structure stories, how to build tension, and what pitfalls to avoid. The dilemma is, if you spend all your spare time reading, you won’t have any time left to write. And you should write.
Although I’ve mention this before, it definitely bears repeating; the world needs to hear your voice. Ben Mezrich, Erik Larson and Michael Lewis all write masterful non-fiction, but their styles are unique and their subjects open our minds to the immense diversity of the human experience.
We all follow different paths, but there is one element that is critical for your success; you have to be persistent. As long as you continue to write, you’re making progress. How do you know you’re making progress climbing a mountain? You’re still moving. From a distant mountain it might appear you’re standing still, but it’s an illusion.
Do you have a short story, poem, essay, screenplay or novel idea that won’t leave you alone? Does it just drive you crazy? You better start writing, because it’s the only way you’ll find any relief. And whether you know it or not, the world is waiting….
If you’re curious, you can find out what I’ve had published by visiting the Writers’ Guild of Alberta website: http://www.writersguild.ca. I’m listed in the Members Directory. What aren’t listed are the unproduced screenplays I’ve written, or the science fiction novel that I’m currently working on. As to how many rejections I’ve received, I lost count years ago.
Copyright © 2018 by J. Paul Cooper