So I've always been a huge reader. Like, ALWAYS. When I was about six, I was desperate for "chapter books," so my mom took me to the bookstore. She picked out an early-reader book for me, the kind with about twenty words per page. I picked out a YA book called Megan's Ghost. She didn't think I'd be able to handle it, but I was determined it was what I wanted. I devoured it in a few days. In fact, I read so much as a kid, my parents had to actually cut my reading time short and make me play outside.
My love of reading is what gave me a love of writing. My first stories were mostly copies of whatever I was reading at the time. You've got to start somewhere, right? Katrina Lantz recently did a post on the importance of reading for writers. And it is SO IMPORTANT. In reading so many books, I absorbed most of my early writing knowledge without ever cracking a book on craft. Reading so much gave me an instinct for some of the smaller things like grammar, and even some of the bigger things like plot structure. Sometimes, I'll re-read my favorite books on purpose with an eye toward improving things like my own character development.
That's not to say you don't want to study craft. But reading is not only good for learning story craft. It's also one of the best ways I've found to get creative. Reading opens your imagination to a new world, and while your imagination is open, it's more receptive to knew ideas. When I'm not entirely sure what the plot of my Shiny New Idea is going to be, or when I'm stuck on revisions, I read.
So, my friends, what is one of your recent favorite reads? (I loved Divergent by Veronica Roth.) What has reading taught you about writing?