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A Writer's Cancer

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

We often equate talented writers as well read evidenced by thousands of books to a point where recall is instant, and wittily spouts the author’s dossier and supported authorities like an episode of Allen Trebek’s television show, Jeopardy. The standing debate whether writers who read other author’s work equates a self-infliction of invisible cancer or is the cornerstone which defines a seasoned writer?

Some may argue the reading of other acclaimed authors is compare with the Socratic method application similar to the discipline used in case law studies. This approach used to expose the apprentice to a slew of scenario he would readily be able to solve, and the architecture of this process is designed to refine the writer. While others will argue, the latter is a red herring argument to hide the underlining issue. The reading of authors’ material is the lobotomy of writer's creative spirit to a point where it’s like cancer.

Personally, I treat this argument like a contagious disease. If you are a reader, then be a reader and if you are a writer then be a writer. To fuse the two may raise arguments which go to the heart of creative authenticity; is it yours? The propagation doesn’t equate because you’re a writer you shouldn’t read books which interest you but sends up red flags if your genre and the admired authors are one in the same. Also, are the influences over the writer subjective or objective? Objective equates leisure reading while subjective read is to hone a writer’s skills. I’m of the belief it would be an injustice to a writer’s creative instincts to read books by authors of similar genres. But if it’s to enhance his writing skills there are thousands of writer’s digests and manuals along with magazines that are available to fine tune a writer’s craft.

In Conclusion, it is bad enough we are influenced by the constant bombardment of the things which impact our everyday lives and affect us subliminally, but quite often they go unnoticed. These effects may be below the threshold of consciousness. A writer's creative originality compound by his devotion to literature erodes his creativity where it is impossible to determine if what he has written is, in fact, his own or a subconscious regurgitation of someone else’s work he’d read sometime past, but forgotten. This unconscious act can also breed plagiarism which in my opinion is the kamikaze of any writer’s credibility.


message 2: by Nico (last edited Sep 01, 2018 12:02PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nico All creative work of any kind is the result of inspiration taken from previous experience, frequently this experience is found in someone else's related work. This is a good thing. It is the way we make progress.

Being constantly bombarded by things which impact your life is not cancer for creativity, but fuel: If nothing goes in, nothing will ever come out. Originality is the result of tweaking prior ideas into new forms. In order to achieve that, you have to already have prior ideas to begin with.

Writers MUST by necessity be readers as well. Genre writers, if they hope to be good, should strive to also be genre readers, familiar with what has already been done so they aren't just reinventing the wheel.

Reading is also a critical factor for developing a writer's technique. Techniques such as reference, parody, allegory, criticism and subversion of expectation are important and powerful elements of a writer's toolbox, but are completely unavailable to one who is not a reader and does not know what to make reference to or what expectations to subvert.

Last, but not least, a writer's production is consumed by readers. In order to satsify readers, a writer needs a good grasp of what readers actually WANT to read. The ONLY way to really have that grasp is to be a reader oneself.


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