Becoming a Refined Reader #IWSG

The Insecure Writers Support Group has posed the question how has being a writer changed your experience as a reader.

I didn’t expect when I first began working with a developmental editor that my taste in reading would change, becoming more refined.

:::::: in a nasal voice ::::: The author writes with a sanctified parsimony that both satisfies and leaves the reader wanting more. Her fillips of verbal ephemera launch the reader on a discovery of the inner workings of art as the basis for a new meaning of incandescence.

No, not that refined!

I’ve always noticed when an author has a particularly lovely turn of phrase, but now I see so much more of the thought and work that makes a narrative worthy of five stars. I expect any book I read to have a good story that keeps me turning pages. In the past, I didn’t have a problem with grammar and punctuation errors if the story was decent. Not anymore. I struggle to read even exceptional stories if the writing hasn’t been stringently edited. I notice the mistakes, at least the ones my own editor, often repeatedly, has pointed out to me.

I try to read authors that will, by mental osmosis, up my own writing game. I find myself rereading scenes to determine what the author did to make me feel such intense emotion or how she choreographed a fight scene so I easily imagined it in my head.

Recognition of quality writing has increased my appreciation for those who create phenomenal reading experiences.


  • You want to read high quality work. Nothing wrong with that. That sets the bar high for your own work and makes you stretch.

    • Yes. There are a couple of authors I like to read before writing my own love scenes. It works as a reminder of what I’m aiming for. The same goes for other kinds of scenes.

  • Hi Cailin, I also find joy in discovering a really great read with excellent writing and plot. Dialogue is my big glaring pet peeve these days. I want the character and what he or she says to match up. I wish you luck 🙂

    • Erika, I find that poorly written dialogue is usually accompanied by other problems. But I know what you mean about dialogue being off. Good authors get you into the characters’ heads because they are already know the inhabitants of their stories. I’m not sure if you can write deep point of view and still write bad dialogue. Good luck to you too.

  • Yeah, these days grammar issues can kill a book faster than a meh story-line 🙂 Now if only that mental osmosis thing will work…

    • Ronel, I think reading excellent writing helps to a certain degree, but to really get somewhere you need an editor to point out the mistakes you don’t think you’re making.

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