Do you have to be well read to be well written?
Topic: Life writing and empathy
July 24, 2019 / By September Question:
I recently read something by Schopenhauer, where he says a man who reads for life ruins his thoughts and takes away imagination while Genius use the book of the world in which they use experience rather then book smarts? Is it true?
Best Answers: Do you have to be well read to be well written?
Olivette | 8 days ago
Yes- you need to have read a wide variety of stuff. It's like Art- if you've never studied it but you live near a pretty field and sketch there, you may draw a nice picture but it won't be as good as the person who is cultured and skilled in Art.
He has a point- you need to be a natural observer and questioner of the world you see around you- and creative writing classes cough up many dull pretentious writers with nothing to write about. You also run the risk of spending your life in imitation of other authors- but can you really love writing if you ignore other writers? They are your teachers, your guidance for how an artist sees the world, and where your empathy lies. Who do you empathise with in Lolita- Humbert?Lolita? Both? Neither? All that sort of stuff prepares you.
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Originally Answered: Is this well-written? Would you read on?
I'd say it's well written to a fault.
It's very descriptive and beautifully put together, but it's heavy for a first chapter. I think it would be better off to start the scene a little less dramatically and build into it. As a first chapter to a book, I'd be disinclined to continue because I'd consider it to be too verbose. There is no exposition before jumping right into heavy, dramatic dialogue, no real setup, just going right into this descriptive scene. It makes me feel less like I'm opening a book and more like I'm flipping channels and landed on a scene in a soap opera.
Again, the writing is fantastic! I'm really not trying to be offensive at all, I think you definitely are talented. I just personally think it's heavy to start with, and a bit dramatic for an opening chapter.
Then again, I'm a college kid and am probably not an accurate representation of what a more sophisticated audience would say, so please take my criticism with a grain of salt :)
I have never met a successful writer who wasn't an avid reader. That's like being an actor, but never going to the theater or to the movies... just because you look at the techniques and tools used by others of the profession doesn't make you any less "inspired" and it certainly doesn't ruin anything.
A writer who is an aware reader will not only enjoy books... they will know WHY they enjoy the book, what techniques the writer used to evoke feelings, how the writer has used certain narration styles to tell the story.
Also, a writer can read a "bad" book and learn what NOT to do, just as an actor can see bad acting and say "okay, I will definitely NOT move like that EVER"
Reading does not taint you as a writer.
If anything, becoming a writer will taint you as a reader.
It's more difficult to just lose yourself in a book, when you're looking at author's techniques, styles and scrutinizing the language and sentence structure and character dynamics.
I hope that helps!
👍 110 | 👎 5
I personally disagree with the statement you are quoting "Schopenhauer"if it is accurate. However every experience in life has cause and effect on our minds. Reading can be internalized just as an actual experience.
I think it is important to be well read. To understand society and cultures and to be exposed to other opinions can cause reflection in ones own life.
It takes a rare person to look inside and be comfortable with the answers that appear and to take it as divine knowledge.
👍 103 | 👎 2
Not necessary but it definitely does help. It only detracts from the originality of your writing if you let what you read influence your imagination too heavily. Reading keeps the part of the brain active that also happens to be the part you use when you write.
👍 96 | 👎 -1
i think it can go both ways. ... Not to brag, but i am an avid reader, who reads nothing but the classic books; many of which include extremely advanced writing. i have gained, as a result of reading these books, not only the ability to write better, but the ability to understand things in general better, and to have a much more opened mind. i find myself able to write easier, drawing upon what i have read as inspiration for my writing. --This is not to say that i actually AM a writer, as i just write for fun (poetry), but suffice to say, i have learned so much from reading what i have, i have gained so much knowledge out of everything i've read, and it has helped improved my writings immensely.
***However,*** i don't think you necessarily *have* to be well read to be well written. Sometimes, i think the best kind of work can come from one's own mind, not having drawn on any sort of inspirations. ...Brainstorming Creative Writing is the most entertaining thing to do; i love to do it...there's nothing you can draw on except your own mind, your own imagination, and your own creativity. You can write whatever you want to and not care if it makes sense. -That's why i loved Lewis Carroll so much. He used wordplay, seemed to have a lot of fun writing what he did (despite his mental battles whilst writing Through the Looking Glass), and it's just so fun to read that book.
---Putting the Brainstorming Creative Writing to the side, however, you can simply just keep writing...keep practicing, and from simply doing that, i think you can become a well written individual. Study your work, edit it, perfect it, and ask yourself what you can do to make it better. Be absolutely meticulous and scrutinize what you've written, it's such a great feeling...and you'll feel such accomplishment, when you look back on what you read and you can say...wow...or damn...i can't believe i just wrote that. i'm not saying this in a vain way, mind you, but writing has become just as equal a passion to me as reading, and the more of both i do, the better i feel i seem to become with not only reading comprehension and writing ability, but vocabulary as well. Whether you write or read well, i think either (though preferably both), are just so intellectually stimulating.
Sorry this is so long lol ---i *do* agree with Schopenhauer, though. i feel that despite the poetry i write, there have been many inspirations i've drawn on to write it outside of my own, personal experiences. i've referenced books i've read in my writings...or i've looked to songs and styles from either them or the way other writers wrote to write some of the things i've written, and as a result, it can be argued that my own creativity and imagination have declined despite my writing ability. Hell, i often use wordplay in my writings, and though i had been doing that even before reading Lewis Carroll's work, i now feel that i'm even being unoriginal for doing that too! It can be a Catch-22 situation!
So yes...it can go either way. i don't think you need a book in front of you to be a good writer, though it can help. But i truly think that if you let what you read take more control over your creative writing and imaginative ability, you may want to put that book down and re-create your own world (which i have done while simulatenously continuing to read; so i obviously don't completely agree with what Schopenhauer is saying).
lol damn...sorry for such a long response
👍 89 | 👎 -4
I think being well read probably does help, you understand context and reference and pastiche which can only enhance a piece of writing, it'd be like writing in a bubble if you had no point of comparison.
👍 82 | 👎 -7
I find that being well read can give you some wonderful inspiration for your own writing. Before reading twilight I never would have considered writing a novel involving vampires with romance, and now I have one planned. I do think that it can give you good inspiration and help you with plans for your own books and look at different ways that people interpret their protagonists and antagonists
Hope this helps from an author x
👍 75 | 👎 -10
Originally Answered: When you read this written by bloggers against PS3 and blu-ray, what do you say now?
Honestly, gloating? Unless you have Sony stock thats really uncalled for...
Personally, I'm *hoping* Sony comes out on top, because I prefer Blu-Ray and the PS3 (and yes, I do own a 360 and Wii and numerous other consoles as well). I think that them being able to put games on a Blu Ray disk rather than a standard DVD will eventually put them leaps and bounds ahead in the long run. But again, thats a personal opnion, not fact. A lot like those articles you just linked above...those are peoples opinions, not "facts".
It aint over til the fat lady sings. We've seen superior hardware lose out before. VHS vs Betamax, anyone? Well, anyone old enough to remember...The sega Saturn? And the Dreamcast? Both technically superior to the competition...yet they weren't the winners. At this point, its really too early to say for sure which format will come out on top. Paramount, Toshiba, Disney....all siding with one format or another....who can say how it will REALLY turn out? Not a bunch of people just spouting opinions at this point, thats for sure...