Currently I am reading the final book from the incredible epic fantasy series, The Wheel of Time, written by Robert Jordan. As I sit back and bask in what I have read so far I realise something that I have previously noticed with other books that I have read. The styles of writing that I have read are adopted somewhat as I write my own novels. Previously I disliked this concept, thinking that my writing should be completely my own, original, and with my own unique style. However, I now realise with the more books I have read, and hence their styles, the better my own writing has developed.
The first time I recognised this was back in high school while studying Jane Austen's 'Pride and Prejudice'. Her flowery, old school English tone seemed to weave itself into my own writing. I even noticed this change in the essays of my school mates. With each different author whose books I read, I noticed my writing take on a slightly different tone of voice. Over time that voice would dissipate so that it no longer was so pronounced but each book left with me a new style to add to my mental catalogue. I could now write with that voice if need be. Hence, reading books allows me to vary how I write.
Robert Jordan has had one of the biggest impacts on my writing. This could be due to the sheer number of books that make up The Wheel of Time series but I also believe he is the best author that I have read to date. I have seen people criticise his writing as being overly descriptive but, as a reader, my personal opinion is that I love lots of description (in the right places). I like to sit back and form an image in my mind based on what the author planned. I like to feel as the author intended me to feel as I read. Robert Jordan has taught me a lot about description and my writing has benefited greatly. Of course, every writer favours different styles of writing and will learn different things from reading than myself or another fellow author.
And so I am adding another New Year’s resolution to my list. I am going to attempt to read more often and read books by different authors. I encourage all my fellow authors out there to do the same. Sure, your writing will improve if you write more often but don't overlook the value of reading. Put some time aside to sit down with a good book just like you hope your own readers will do.
Scarlett Van Dijk
Image courtesy of africa / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
A Writer's Tale
Scarlett Van Dijk
Writer of young adult, fantasy series, the Sky Stone series, poetry and short stories.
Subscribe to my blog to receive email updates of my latest posts.