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Discussion Starter #1
No, I haven't actually lost the ability to read, just the ability to enjoy a book without mentally editing every sentence. I know that reading alot makes a writer better, but nowadays when I pick up a book it just feels like more work, almost like cross-training. I hate to think that after 3 novels I'm losing my motivation but I've definitely lost some of my reads-for-pleasure mindset. Has this happened to anyone else? Any suggestions?
 

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Different genres or even switching to non-fiction for a while. I realized I was in that rut when I was going through a Patterson novel saying, "Well, they could have edited this a little better." Switched to reading mysteries for a while and it seemed to work for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Impossible! Lol...Seriously though I try to read plenty of Stephen King, Conn Iggulden and some Lee Child...But in all honesty, best-sellers aren't always best-authors! (Fifty shades of Grey, anyone?)
 

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Yeah, it's tough. I picked up a copy of Asimov's a while ago, and I was reading the main story titled Hotel. The opening section was fine, but then there's a chapter break and a new character in introduced with two heavy, descriptive paragraphs. He's given one line, then disappears while two characters that weren't really introduced carry the scene. I had to re-read the damn thing, just to make sure I wasn't missing something. I'm sure I wouldn't have noticed before I started writing.
 

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I've switched to non-fiction for awhile. It helps.

It does help to read someone who can tell a really good story. Then it's easier to shut off the inner editor for a few hours.

But, honestly, there are always going to be some books that bring out the inner editor in a screaming rage. I couldn't read the '50 Shades' books if I wanted to. I've already heard too much about them.

But I'm thinking I could re-read Tolkien and some of my favorite Nora Roberts, for enjoyment.
 

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It's called "reading like a writer". It's that internal apprentice / editor that notices everything the author does or does not do. A good story will shut off the filter and wrap your mind around it, but even a good book might have a mistake that will throw you momentarily out of the story (missing word, extra word, typo). It's getting harder to turn off the editing filer because books (even trad books) are no longer edited to the same level of perfection that they once were.
 

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ETS PRESS said:
It's called "reading like a writer".
I wonder if it gets worse, the better the writer you are. I mean, when I imagine someone who's really skilled with words like an Amy Tan type, reading something, I imagine her thinking "I could've said that better" or "Why didn't he say it THIS way, it would've given it greater impact?" Is it possible for the best writers in the world to enjoy reading?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
vrabinec said:
I wonder if it gets worse, the better the writer you are. I mean, when I imagine someone who's really skilled with words like an Amy Tan type, reading something, I imagine her thinking "I could've said that better" or "Why didn't he say it THIS way, it would've given it greater impact?" Is it possible for the best writers in the world to enjoy reading?
Ha! I've wondered the same thing. So, there's no solution to turning off the "inner editor", just find better books, better writers? Better than me? Psshh, impossible.
 

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markobeezy said:
No, I haven't actually lost the ability to read, just the ability to enjoy a book without mentally editing every sentence. I know that reading alot makes a writer better, but nowadays when I pick up a book it just feels like more work, almost like cross-training. I hate to think that after 3 novels I'm losing my motivation but I've definitely lost some of my reads-for-pleasure mindset. Has this happened to anyone else? Any suggestions?
Roll with it. You'll learn to shut it off better as you get more practice. You needn't force yourself to finish something that's bothering you, but don't despair. :)
 

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It's like with eating.  Sometimes you go out and you know that the food is not going to be remarkable.  You can taste too much fat, certainly  too much sugar, way too much salt etc.

But you still have to go out to eat for extraneous reasons, among which: you like the company, you need people around you, and you are a writer - you need to be close to the buzz...
 

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Jan Strnad said:
If you're doing that, maybe the books you're reading aren't very well written. Try reading work that is better than what you can write!
This.

Go read some great writing. Get American writers so they were written in American English. My personal favorite is Hawthorne for an amazing mastery of style that is not too cumbersome but still beautiful. If you haven't read "Rappaccini's Daughter" check it out. If you like that, he's got a whole collection of brilliant short stories that are sort of twilight-zone-ish, and The House of the Seven Gables is my favorite book of all time. But if not him, just find some, there are lots from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. The fact that writers like Hawthorn and Wharton and Steinbeck and all the rest are still being read speaks to the quality of the writing. Anything Edith Wharton wrote, short story or novel, is a CLINIC in good writing.
 

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EDIT: I will not complain when other people don't write the way I like it. That's how I write, and that's my job.

When I get cranky, I do a jigsaw puzzle and listen to This American Life. They tell the stories verbally! It's good.
 

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I know they say you have to read a lot to improve your own writing, but I think the secret is to write more, not read more. Just my two-bits' worth.

And I find it difficult to read anything anymore.
 

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It all depends on my mood. Most times I'm happy to go along for the ride. Other times my inner editor comes out and it's all I can think about. I used to really enjoy Janet Evanovich's quirky mysteries, but last night I tried to start a new one of hers and three pages in I'd gone through copious amount of virtual red ink. While there wasn't anything technically wrong, the sentence flow and structure really bothered me.

It's okay, I switched to a Kerrelyn Sparks vampire novel and all was right with the world.
 

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markobeezy said:
No, I haven't actually lost the ability to read, just the ability to enjoy a book without mentally editing every sentence. I know that reading alot makes a writer better, but nowadays when I pick up a book it just feels like more work, almost like cross-training. I hate to think that after 3 novels I'm losing my motivation but I've definitely lost some of my reads-for-pleasure mindset. Has this happened to anyone else? Any suggestions?
I have done this for many years, it is impossible to "turn off" the editor, it is a subconscious, almost autonomic response. As I have very seldom found a perfect book I have no expectations and can switch away from analytic edit mode to "story edit" mode and just enjoy (or not) the characters and the plot. If the writing is too atrocious, or the dialogue too forced or unnatural it will intrude on the story being told, but even then, flawed as it is, if the story grips me I can still enjoy the book. It is like listening to a good raconteur, although their language is often less than grammatically ideal they can still hold your interest and entertain.

For instance, your use of the non-word "alot" leapt out at me, but it didn't detract from your message. ;D Just kidding, it is a very common Americanism.
 

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Odd. When I read the subject line, I thought that this thread was going to refer to Peter David, a televison/comic book/novel writer who had a stroke last week and cannot see properly.

Get well soon PAD!
 

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That happens to me a lot, too. If I'm too tied up with my own writing, I can't turn it off, and I end up not finishing a book, and I hate that.

I've been on a reading binge the last few days (due to getting some books I'd been wanting to read for a while), and this last one the inner editor pops out once in a while. It's Stephen King's Under the Dome, and while I love his writing, this one could have been edited a tiny bit better. He has characters with similar names, which throws me off my pace until I remember who's who, and often uses the same word more than once in a paragraph -- like the word "clean", for example.

But I'll get over it. ;)

Of course, while I was reading 11-22-63, there was no inner editor at all. I mean at all. Totally hooked me from page one. I think it's probably the best he's ever written, and I don't say that lightly.

The same with Changes, the latest Harry Dresden book. Butcher has his glitches, but that man can tell a story. I hope his next installment doesn't take forever, because I can't wait to see where the plot goes next.
 

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It's not so much line editing, it's seeing the story arch and plot twists a mile away or knowing why the character was killed off etc.  And it's not just books, it's movies and television shows.
But, now I watch less T.V. so that's good, right? :D
 
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