The advice goes "To be a writer, you need to read."

That's great, but how much should you be reading while writing and exactly what sorts of things?

Autumn and Jesper break down this sage advice with some practical tips, a bit of insight, and even a dose of statistics!

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Read the full transcript below.

(Please note that it's automatically generated and while the AI is super cool, it isn't perfect. There may be misspellings or incorrect words on occasion).

Narrator (1s): You're listening to the amwritingfantasy podcast in today's publishing landscape, you can reach fans all over the world. Query letters are a thing of the past. You don't even need a literary agent. There is nothing standing in the way of making a living from writing join to best selling authors who have self published more than 20 books between them. Now onto the show with your hosts, Autumn Birt and Jesper Schmidt.

Jesper (30s): Hello. I am Jesper and I'm Autumn. This is episode 63 of the amwritingfantasy podcast and we are going to discuss how

Narrator (41s): much authors should read when

Jesper (43s): writing and I think to should become quite interesting. It is. It's a, it'll be a fun one to debate because I know what they say, I know what I do and I know what I want to do. So this will be fun to try to figure out which is the proper thing to be doing. Yeah. If there is such a thing as a proper thing, because I think that's part of the conversation here as well. You know? Very true. Yeah. That's something we can, uh, we can discuss a bit here today. Absolutely.

But first, how is your week here? You had a very busy weekend, you hinted out. Yeah. It, it almost feels like every weekend is busy at this eye, but, uh, but at least, uh, yeah, this, this past weekend was, uh, was quite a, quite busy in a alter, quite tiresome because am I went to take my certificate so that I could also function as a linesman in soccer games. Oh, that's exciting. So that's like an additional, yeah, it's like an additional referee cost that you need to take, uh, and you need to pass it.

Um, so it took like, it took all day, so you meet at nine o'clock, uh, and the, and you're done in five, so it's like a normal work day. But um, but during that time you also have, you know, you sit for a couple of hours and do, doing, you know, repetition of the theory of, because of course, because I'm already a referee, I know the theory already. So you do like repetition of it with the linesman specific parts and, and go through all that once again.

Um, and then we went to an actual game where we then were linesman, you know, so each of us had like 10, 10 minutes in each half, uh, where we were linesman in a proper game to practice, which was quite nice. But the thing was that it was like a, was the wind was howling and it was raining and it was nasty. So it was, yeah. And it was really cold, really raining and, and, and, and, and you only have 10 minutes, you know, and then the other guys who also took the certificate have their 10 minutes so far for like half an hour out of the 40 minutes and eat hot.

Autumn (3m 1s): It needs half. You were just standing there in the freezing cold, raining, you know, it was not very pleasant, but that doesn't I, I mean I'm in Vermont, but you're in Denmark, so I'm thinking, I think your latitude is further North, Southern thing. Ah, that just rain in February. And so, yeah.

Jesper (3m 22s): How are you feeling? Do you have a cold or he sounds like he doesn't use cell. Okay. No, no, I am no, no, I, I F I feel okay. I mean am okay. We did. God, we did get really wet and soaked because otherwise also afterwards, uh, you have to do, that's part of the certification that you have to, you had to pass a modified Cooper test. I don't know if you're familiar with those. And that was basically like, no, it's, it's Cooper test.

It's like a run test that was, I don't remember if it's like from the sixties or seventies, but it was developed for the U S military. Um, so I think normally in a Cooper test, if I remember correctly, you're running 12 minutes and you, it's basically like a max test. So you just run as fast as you can in 12 minutes. And then it's used to, normally it's, it's then being used to that. You built your training schedule off of that, um, so that you can build up your stamina and become more fit and whatnot.

That's how to use it in the military. But, but here we are doing in like a modified one. So instead we have to run a two kilometers in 10 minutes. So that means that you have to, you have to run fairly fast, otherwise you're not gonna make it. Um, and, and we did this of course we'd like in with the wind, you know, right in our faces. Like it was really strong headwind. Um, so it was a why I was, I was done for afterwards.

Oh man. So, uh, yeah, so yeah, they, it was a, it was good. I passed everything so I also have that certificate, so that was nice. Uh, but uh, but other than that, then I must say when I got home Friday evening, I was very, very tight. So I was pleased to be honest at the, this morning or this week, the kids are off school for the winter holidays. So I was actually quite pleased about that because that meant that I could sleep in this morning, which was quite nice instead of doing an early school run.

So that's good. That's good. Then hopefully they slept in and didn't like, decided to get up at the crack of Dawn and get into things. Now, you know, the kids a bit older now, sorts of data, they don't get, they don't get up late, but they don't get up early items. So it's like this eight o'clock, something like that at half past seven, something like that. So it's okay. It's enough that I can slip in as well, so, so that's good. So, but we're planning to, uh, to take them to the swim this Friday,

Autumn (5m 59s): so, uh, yeah. And, and on Sunday as well, my youngest has, he ha he's attending a soccer tournament that it has to have to go with him for on this coming weekend. So it's like, yeah. You know, next weekend is specious. Well, yeah, sounds, uh, you definitely hear running around, but Hey, you're, you know, parents and plus you have other things you're working on with the soccer and so yes, that will keep you busy. Yeah. Yeah. But I think you, last time you, when we recorded, you were talking about doing the renovation and whatnot, so you probably been pretty busy too.

Oh yeah. Just trying to, I think if, um, uh, if I ever have to pick up a pick ax again, I hope it's not to be lobbing at frozen ground and some big boulders. And we also had some concrete, uh, posts that were supporting the posts that were supporting the roof for the overhang where we're building a, a little room below it. And yeah, I just as a writer, as has anyone who likes to work with her and I actually anyone, no one wants to be sore but my elbows and my wrists and my hands, I just, I feel this, I feel this a lot so I'm, I'm tired but Hey, we're up to the point.

I have the floor joists in its level. I think I'm done with the frozen ground on the pick axing and I have just one more sheet of a floorboard plywood to put down and then literally the subfloor is done and I can just worry about the walls and after frozen floor, um, February again, February outside yet frozen groundwork. I am, I'm ready for just would, but we have a storm coming tomorrow and then it's going to be nice for a little while.

So we just have to cover up our, our lumber and stuff cause we don't need it coated in ice and then hopefully we'll get the upset the walls done and the sheeting done. So next week it's supposed to be really crappy and AC and rainy and you know like February, winter kind of stuff. But if we can at least have the outside sheeting on and the walls up then who cares? You know, we can worry about citing it when the weather's have decent. Well you can just work inside at that point.

So it's very close. Very excited. It almost sounds actually like that you have it colder than we do here. To be honest. I don't know. We'll have snow and ice because we don't have that. Oh yeah, no, we have snow and ice. We had am the temperature the other day was zero degrees when we woke up and that's Fahrenheit here. Yeah. So that's, that was fair night. It's am just about freezing every day. Usually like in the afternoons it'll go above freezing, but most of the all night and most mornings and evenings are below freezing.

So it's kind of cold. Yeah, it sounds like it. Well, once we get into talking the temperature

Jesper (8m 56s): and the weather, maybe it's am

Autumn (8m 59s): tend to move on.

Jesper (9m 3s): Well, we go on the internet with the amwritingfantasy podcast, so we have a lot of new join us on Patrion. Uh, so I just wanted to give, each of the machines are out here. Uh, so we have a

Autumn (9m 16s): Rena handwork, hand, Beck, something like that. Nina Jimson, Brian Jacob pits, and a fellow Dane. Do you want to try to pronounce her name? Autumn no, I'm not even, I don't want you to feel insulted. I've already seen you writing notes to each other in, in Danish. If so, I just, yeah, no, that's your side. You're good. I trust your pronunciation. So that was a Kasina fuck here. Oh, very nice.

That's, that's what I'm going to have to work on. That's really good. So how do you say hello in Danish though? I want to know that one. Well, you, you just say hi. Hi. You don't have another word, like Hey, uh, almost like English, but you just say hi. Hi. Okay. Yeah, this is, it's not like French with bones or anything. All right. So I can say hi. Oh, no, no. Yeah. Excellent. Well, good. I quite easy. We should do a word every single week. I'll eventually catch on. Oh, maybe.

Jesper (10m 15s): But, uh, but at least I wanted to on behalf of, of both myself and autumn of course to say, uh, thank you so much for the support that you're offering to the amwritingfantasy. Podcast you know, it's, it's this kind of support that helps us keep the lights on, uh, when it comes to this podcast. So please know that your pledge really makes a difference and it means a lot to us.

Autumn (10m 36s): It does. It's, it's wonderful to be able to help and meet other people a lot more personally than we would. And just like the Facebook group and, and the support. Yeah. It keeps us going here. So, which is a really important, yup.

Jesper (10m 51s): We offer a lot of rewards to those who join us. So I could also mention that, uh, just last week, uh, at the point of, uh, of this episode going out, we had the monthly Q and a session for for all those who support us at the adult dragon Tia, because you've got a name your tea or something.

Autumn (11m 10s): Absolutely. All of ours are dragon tears and yeah, of course for fantasy authors, of course we have dragons in there.

Jesper (11m 20s): Exactly. Yeah. So if you want to see what we watch, we are offering, you know, check the link in the show notes and a head on over to Patrion and consider to join the club and become one of our backers over.

Autumn (11m 31s): Yeah. And I mean, it's really interesting. I mean, not only do you get into the podcast early, but to me sometimes it's the weekly, I mean, we're doing like weekly writing tips and blogs and answering questions over there. So there's quite a, it would be dirty now. I think there's over a year's worth of a backlog of blog post just to access that have tons of tips. So yeah, it's getting every day. It's getting more and more.

Jesper (11m 59s): Yeah. Yeah. And we also try to post a bit, uh, kind of like publishing, marketing industry information slash tip show once a week as well. Uh, so only the patron supporters are getting those as well. So this is actually stuff with a winner posting elsewhere. So, uh, so it might be, might be good to get into that if you're interested.

Autumn (12m 23s): Absolutely. Though I don't want to forget. I still absolutely love how the amwritingfantasy Facebook group is growing so fast by leaps and bounds. And how much conversation is going on? I just looked at like what are the top ones just from, Oh, yesterday someone asked like, how do you choose weapons for characters? Guess how many comments are on that one already? 20. Oh, you're so low. Oh really?

41 comments on that one. And it just still typing, um, people talking about how they choose their character weapons and it's just, it's a lot of fun. So it's really actually seeing all the different ways, especially the different types. So we have fantasy from medieval to someone mentioning their space opera and they had mentioned something about a dinosaur. So it's, they're just wondering. So that's another one that if you don't want to join if you can't join us on Patreon right now, come over at least to the amwritingfantasy Facebook group because it's just fine.

Jesper (13m 31s): Yeah, it is. And, and I, I think, I don't, I don't remember if we talked about this on a past podcast episodes, if had just been conversations between you and me autumn but, but we have talked about in the past at least am that it feels like with Facebook groups that you sort of need to read some sort of critical mass and once you get that far, then then the interaction starts to flow more because they are just enough people that you will always get responses. And we've certainly passed that actually quite a while back, I think.

But, but it, it's amazing. We, I mean every day I'm either myself or Luke and sometimes you autumn are letting in more people. It's like everyday there's join requests and everyday there is new posts from people who asking for help or advice and people pitching in. So I think that's absolutely excellent and it's a really nice, a free resource. Uh, so whether, whether you're sort of viewing Facebook the same way that I do and you don't quite like Facebook, this one is just enough that I'm going to go on Facebook anyway.

Yeah,

Autumn (14m 34s): I agree. It's definitely become that kind of group, which is awesome.

Jesper (14m 43s): Ah, so how much should you read when writing this is something that is, yeah, but because there are so many opinions on this, I saw many people, I don't know, maybe for a start, maybe four-star on them before we even get started on this. Maybe we should just point out that whatever we say from this point onwards is just our opinions. Nothing right or wrong in this episode. It is. We just sharing what we think and you can feel absolutely free to disagree with us.

That's fine. We have no problems with that. So we can only just say what we feel like, and I think this has gotta to be, that's kind of episode.

Autumn (15m 25s): Yes, I think so. And you can happily comment, debate, criticized. They'll be kind in the comments. That's what they're there for. So this will be a fun one to maybe be a conversation with of, you know, do you, how much do you think are we right, are we wrong? Um, what do you think of the advice that's out there? And I think that might be also a really good place to start is what you've heard. What do they tell writers? Um, how much you should read while writing is always a good place to start.

Jesper (15m 57s): Yeah, it is for sure. Uh, I also find, I actually found a 2014, 14 time magazine article about how much American treats, so we can just come cycled back to that as well. And I can tell you what peoples, well this is a, you know, self assessments stuff. So it's just what people believe themselves. So it's not like a, like a scientific study but, but it's still a bit interesting, but we can just cycle back to that. And I think the elephant in the room, maybe, maybe I can start with that.

At least the, I see knowledge that, yeah, because there was a Stephen King quote out there, and I think this one influences quite a lot about how people believe, think, view the point about how much you should be reading when you're writing. And the quote goes like this. So quote, if you want to be a writer, you must do two things. Read a lot and write a lot unquote. All right, so that's what Stephen King set, right?

So it doesn't tell you have to, it's not like write every day. It doesn't say read every day, just as a read a lot, read a lot and write a lot, which of course I'm not going to disagree with him yet, but I mean that, that, I think that is true. Uh, but, uh, I mean the man has sold more than 350 million copies of his work. Right? And the, I also looked up, according to Forbes, he yearns approximately $40 million per year. Right. So I'm not gonna argue with that guy.

Autumn (17m 29s): That'd be like argue about if Neil Gaiman told me I had to read every day, I probably just go and do it so

Jesper (17m 35s): well yeah, but this is exactly what I wanted to debate a bit here. Right. Because I think does this, this is part of the problem because the guy Stephen King and because he has the name me as him because he's like the, you know multi award winning highly author that everybody wants to be when he says something it is taking S gospel. Yes. And that is fair enough and I understand why. So I'm not sort of putting people down for, for doing that at all. I fully understand the logic behind but I do have some issues when what he said there about read a lot comes off as if now this is a requirement, you know, if you want to be something like a successful, not even like Stephen King because I think that's, that's the lightning in the bottle conversation again.

But if you want to be successful at least then if you aren't reading a lot you will never become a good writer. And I think, I think to be honest at this is how that statement is often understood or that that that I mentioned before. Yeah, that definitely makes sense. And I don't like that.

Autumn (18m 44s): I like to question everything. So I guess it probably wouldn't hit me that way where there definitely would have been a time where in my life where I would have tried to juggle more balls than I really should possibly be responsible for just because everyone said this, you need to do this, you need to do that, you need to do this. Um, it's probably why I say why at this point, but I do see, I think that might be a key component is why should you read when you're a writer and that is important and maybe what you should read when you're a writer because there's also a difference there.

And so there's a lot of, there's a lot of wiggle room on the this question. There's a lot of things to unpack and try to figure out when they say you should read, if you want to be a writer. So what should you be reading? Should you be reading your genre? Should you be reading books on how to write? Should you just be reading the news? It doesn't say, well I read a lot of news stories every day. BBC is like, you know, my go-to if I have a five second break to see what's going on in the world.

Jesper (19m 51s): Right. But that's not fiction though. It is not. But I guess this is part of the conversation does, it does, it's just, okay, what

Autumn (19m 59s): are you supposed to be reading? Should it only be about writing or should it be in your genre?

Jesper (20m 6s): Yeah. Uh, I mean for sure. I do think that a reading is important. Um, uh, and I, I've, I try to think before we went to record this, I was trying to think of things that, you know, what are the benefits of reading from a writer's perspective? And I tried to, to think of some stuff and I came up with four things to be honest. And one of them is also answering the question you just raised about what it is did you should be reading. So maybe I can go over them here and then you can see if you have some more to pitch in or maybe you disagree with some of them and then you can, uh, you can share your thoughts.

We never disagree. So this will be fun and we'll see if we can get with something.

Autumn (20m 49s): I'll, maybe I shouldn't call it problem, but it always ends up stone and we, we agree on your thing. So it doesn't become very, very like heated debates is podcast all to play devil's advocate just for the sake of it. Alright, so number one, uh, I put down that the more you read, the more words and sentence structures that you will gain exposure to. So this will inform and help you in your own writing. And I think that is true.

That's very true. Because when you, when you see other, other, other authors writing and now we're talking fiction here of course, because then you're getting a sense of how do they, how do they use the words but also the sentence structures and how are they, especially with fantasy for example, how are they doing the world building elements, how are they sharing things about the world inside the narrative without info dumps like we talked about in past episodes and all that good stuff, you know, that's, that's something you do get a feeling for from reading.

So, so, and it, it sort of broadens your understanding of how to write. So I think that's important. Yes, I agree, of course. But I think it's also important the quality of what you're reading because you're talking about, you know, learning and I've seen, um, you know, sometimes if you're not reading something that is well-written, you might be learning the wrong things. And I have definitely seen that at a few, few times that people are not reading, you know, maybe there it's more lightweight.

It's not, you know, the high end, the, you know, the J K Rowling's or the George RR Martin. You're really seeing some really fantastic writing. I did read a really nice article from someone once who said, you know, when you're reading something and it really just moves you or takes you by surprise or you just does, it has an impact on you. That's when you should stop and really analyze it and look at it and see why. How did the author do this? That's a really great way of looking at writing.

And again, if I've read stories where the dialogue was literally and other things like that, and that's probably not the inspiration and that I want to be unpacking. So you gotta watch the quality of what you're reading. But isn't that highly sort of subjective? I mean, what if I like to read something that where the, where the dialogue is we, that's what I like and I want to write like that.

That's fine, right? That is fine. That is fine. If that's also what you want to write, I guess read something that is from an author who will inspire you. So if you go for someone who's writing that style you love and that you think is really an excellent writer and his writing things that you like and that'll help inspire you, teach you a lot about the genre and how to write whatever it is about their writing that you like, whether it's the characters of the world or just the sentence structure like you said.

Jesper (23m 56s): Yeah. And it also, on the flip side, I would say for example, am it's probably probably a year ago, but I read the Brandon Sanderson's way of King of Kings. I think story, I think it's way of Kings, not King, but nevermind. But I read that I think about a year ago and, and well I think most of us are on, most of our listeners here know Brendan Sanders. Sanderson is a pretty big name within fantasy authors within the community of Francis you authors.

But honestly, I, I didn't like those books. I think that's when somebody will kill me now. But, but honestly I didn't, but because you did not like a Brandon Sanderson story, probably. Probably, yes. Uh, I mean, but nevertheless, I still got something out of it. You know, I, I was certainly inspired with, I mean, the world building stuff, I mean, hands down, he is, he does an excellent job at we're building. Um, and so you can still pick up things about, for example, how he's am well, again, sharing the world details without doing info dumps and not because he does not do when for Dom's, it's all part of the story, which is really nice.

Um, so you could still pick up information like that. Even though that the story itself, I didn't really care much for that. I didn't care much for the character either. Uh, but, but there are still things you can pick up from reading other people's books. I like, okay, I like this one element, but the rest I don't like. So you just ignore the rest and you pick up the elements that you do like. Right. I think that's fine.

Autumn (25m 32s): I mean, I've, I've still never actually finished game of Thrones because I just, they're, the pacing sometimes was too slow and there's, I really could not get used to the fact that all the characters I cared about died. But at least now that I've watched the show, maybe I'll know which ones. Yeah. At least now that I've watched the show, I can only see which ones I know which ones will make it to the end. So I'll try to focus on those. But his writing it's the language and the, what it evokes and how he uses a different senses.

Just, I mean, there's a couple paragraphs and pages of his writing that I keep as inspiration when I need, when I'm feeling stuck and like my writing's flat, I go read those and I'm like, right, this is what I'm trying to do. And so yeah, even though I've never finished the whole series, I've finished enough of it to know this is stellar. If I could do this, I'd be so thrilled. Right.

Jesper (26m 27s): Okay. So that was only number one. Let's go for to. Yeah. So I'll do two and three here in quick succession because they're just short points. And then number four, I will then I'll get into answering the question you asked before about what you should be reading. Uh, so number is, uh, well when you're reading your PFOS to block all out all kinds of other stuff out and you're foster focus, uh, and so it helps to improve your concentration, which I think is a good skill to have as a writer.

So that's just a quick one there. Uh, and eh, number three is in prolonged nation of, of the learning about words and sentence structures, but that's more like the fundamentals of story structure. Uh, you also, you also get a better understanding about how different authors are structuring their stories by reading a lot of books. Um, so again, you will, there will be some stuff you like and some, some stuff you don't like and that's fine and you pick and choose what you want to sort of bring forward into to inform your own writing and what you want to ignore.

That's absolutely fine. But, but reading a lot of different stories does give you different perspective on how a story can be structured and what at least from your point of view works and what doesn't work.

Autumn (27m 47s): Yes, both are very good points. I like the idea, I hadn't been considering it, but with focus, I think that's a really important that there's so much going on in the world that it's probably a good thing to learn to just get lost in something and then hopefully you can do the same thing in your book. And I have to admit, as a writer it's, we never, we never experience our own stories with that first level of discovery, not the complete thing. It's always, you know, we're discovering lots of bout our story as we write, but we're never going to experience as a reader.

So it's also really fun to read just to remember what it's like to be led along. And so we can think about how we're doing that for the people reading our stories. Yeah, that's true. Okay. Should I get into my perspective on the question you asked that cause I think I'm saving up one of the reasons that, well I think it's going to be related to something I'm thinking of so let's go for it.

Jesper (28m 47s): Okay, cool. Yeah. So in terms of what should you be reading, in my opinion it, well it's one of the typical answers where it depends a bit, but if you are not well versed within or well-read within this younger that you're writing already, then you have to write within the genre. Yes. Because the thing is that, Oh I did I say right. I meant I have to read within this younger. Yeah. Because the thing is that each Shaundra has its own kind of tropes within them.

And I'm not trying to start saying here now that you need two copies tropes and you need to follow them, but, but if you don't have a sense of what they are and also how they do inform, read expectations of the stories, then you, your, your book are not going to resonate with that audience. So it's not about tropes, but it is about touching upon the troops. So do you at least delivering what readers of that particular show is expecting?

And then of course the way that you deliver it, you have to be creative and try to find new ways, but still touching upon that those particular truck try to sugar. So, so that's the reason why I think you have to read within your, within the same genre as your writing. Um, if you are really well West within your shower already and you understand all of it already, I don't know, maybe for example, if you would like to write a fantasy story that has some thriller elements in it, maybe it could be worth reading a bit of thriller stories just to see how those stories are working and how the authors are going about that too.

You know, give you a bit of an outside perspective almost if you can call it that. But for the majority I will probably say that you have to read within the genre and stays for the most part it's just in,

Autumn (30m 45s): yeah. And I think, um, there's another one. Good thing. Yeah. Well I think there's a few reasons to why I guess it doesn't. Um, I like variety. So I think it's sometimes fun to just read, like read in your genre or read what you're writing in the genre you're writing, but sometimes it is fun to just go pick up a murder mystery and see how they do some layering in of clues and you can learn so much about that. And so it's really fun to kind of go for really good stories. But I do think it's really important to do that because you learn not only what we've been talking about, but the current trends.

I think if, um, if I went, I just recently read an Anne McCaffrey when th the first book I ever picked up that was a fantasy story and is the reason I fell in love with fantasy and I read it again and I haven't actually finished my review for it on good reads because this is like, this is the most pivotal story of my entire life. And reading it now as an adult in 2020 versus, you know, a kid in 1980 where the sexism, it's more omniscient, just all the writing trends that have changed.

Um, how this woman am her boyfriend slash lover treats her. Oh my gosh, if that happened today, but at the time it was fine, but reading it now like, Oh my gosh, I'd never let my kid read this if she thought, if I would not want another young child to think it's okay to be shaken and be almost afraid of the person who is supposed to be our partner. Holy crap. So I was, I think it's important to go read, but you know, try to read what's contemporary because you'll be surprised at the change in nuances, uh, characters.

I remember the 80s there was a lot about you are born Dustin, you know, low, the big glowy signs and you shall go and be this. And nowadays it's like, I'm sorry, you're like the poor farm boy. You're going to have to earn this through some horrible trials and if you're lucky you will come out alive and be something better. It's a lot different. So if you're going to pick up something, it's to pick up those sorts of things. You what are the trends? How our characters being development, read the comments to see what readers like about the story, what they hated about the story and it's fascinating.

It's all, every book I read now is become like a scientific study of what do I like? What did other readers like, what do people say about it? Because it's good to find the trends and you're always allowed to have your own views and opinions. But again, if you're writing for a mass audience, it's also interesting to see if you agree or disagree with what other people found. It's really fun and even little things like I realized I liked to write dystopian, but almost all dystopian is written in first person and I just, I don't know why it's like nails on a chalkboard to me.

I don't really like reading, writing first person, so it's one reason I stay away. I have a little bit in the genre if that's also partially why I stay away from it because a third person is not that common and readers are not expect they're okay with it that some of them mentioned, you know, it's okay but it's not, it's not what they're looking for and those are important things. You only know by being curious and going in there and reading or picking up at least a whole bunch of am, the free downloads and the lease going through them a little bit to get to trends.

Hmm.

Jesper (34m 21s): Yeah. What your set just reminded me because uh, uh, quite recently I finished reading the first book in the dragon lands series with my sons and I was so afraid of going back to read that because of exactly what you will mention in here. Right. I was so afraid that this wonderful memory of dragon Lars was the one that put me on the, on the track of fantasy back back when I was a child and I, and I have so fun. Fond memories of that series is just like the best thing I ever read.

And then I was like, Oh my God, I mean, I'm so afraid now I'm going to pick this up and I'm going to start reading and am I going to be like, what? What is this? You know, imagine, yeah, we got, and I was so concerned about having my fond memory completely spoiled. But, um, but to be honest, it was okay. It was, it was not as a, um, it was not as good as I remember it, but it would say it's okay. I mean, racially in the skill is still cool, so that's good.

Those deaf. But I mentioned that I'm going to send that 2014 time magazine article before. Maybe I should just circle back to that for us. Let's, yeah, let's circle back

Autumn (35m 35s): what it said. Yeah. Again,

Jesper (35m 38s): it was, uh, you know, people's own estimation on how much they read. So there's no science in mold here, but, uh, but it's so excepted Americans read 19 minutes a day on average. So this is 2014. So mind you at 66 years old, right? But yeah, American sign minutes, younger Americans aged between 25 and 35 34 reads just four minutes a day.

Wow. And those over 75 reach upwards of one hour each day. So, uh, yeah. And I, I'm pretty sure that the, in terms of the younger demographics there, it could even be less than four minutes nowadays, but I don't know. How much do you read on average a day? Autumn

Autumn (36m 30s): I would say cause I would get in most of my reading right now is probably new stories and things like that. But I would say maybe I get an hour, but maybe I'm overestimating half an hour to an hour. And I would like that to be a fiction. And I do like, my problem is I try not to read while I'm writing because I'm task oriented and once I get involved in a novel I just want to read. I'm like addicted to reading. It's my biggest addiction. So I do not usually read while I'm writing because otherwise I'll just read.

But I do do other am other types of, you know, readings, little short stories and yeah, some stuff.

Jesper (37m 11s): So what do you think you read? Well, certainly less than I would like to. Um, I, uh, I don't have time during days and what not to read. So the time when I read this, when I go to bed in the evening before I need to sleep, so then I like to take my Kindle and read a bit, uh, before going to sleep. But it happens too often compared to what I would like that am I'm too tired when I get to bed, so I almost cannot read, so I just fall asleep and step.

So I don't know, on average maybe like, mm. I probably pretty much aligned with that article there. Maybe 15, 20 minutes, something like that, which is far less than I want to. I would like really light to read more, but I feel it really difficult to find the necessary time to do so. But also because when you've been really busy all day, you know, when I get to bed on tired. Yeah. Uh, and I think that maybe, go ahead.

Sorry, go ahead now. Well, I was just about to say, but maybe this is also why the Stephen King quote there re-ups me a bit the wrong way because it's, it's, I mean, not, not the quote itself, but more like the way that I think some people understand the quote because I don't know what exactly he meant by it when he said read a lot. Uh, I, I don't know if, if maybe maybe somebody can take out an article where he elaborated on it and I did read Stephen King's on writing that book he wrote.

I did read that, but that's like a couple of years ago. So I can't quite remember if he elaborated on it in there, but maybe he means that you have to read a lot every day. Uh, or maybe he just means that you read, you read as much as you can. I, I'm not sure, but at least I, I just feel like it's important to be mindful that you don't end up dedicating so much time to reading that it basically ends up taking time away from writing. Exactly. We're not going to be authors unless we, right, exactly.

That's why I tried it

Autumn (39m 18s): to write a book and then read a book and then write a book and read a book. Cause if I do it any other way, it screws up everything and I would just be reading. But I do think it's important and I mean I also think it comes from, like I mentioned, the trends and all those things. You can only get by reading current stories, things that are out now. But before I became a writer, I thousand, I mean how many fantasy books did I think I used to fall off a book in two or three days.

And so if I, if I estimated from the time I really started reading fantasy in seventh grade to when I started writing and slowed down on my reading activities, that's a lot of books. I mean it does like it has to count somewhere. I got all of that knowledge stored inside of me somewhere, even though sometimes it's, you know, not how I'd want to be writing now, but at least I, I can analyze that and they still get something from it because it's part of why I love the genre and why I became a writer.

Jesper (40m 23s): Yeah, but don't you think that sometimes reading can end up for some people to be like a procrastination tool? Oh, absolutely. It's like the excuse that, Oh, I need to read some stuff so I don't have time to write today or something. I dunno.

Autumn (40m 38s): The writing should definitely come first and it's one of the hard parts of being an author. I see some authors on good reads and they have like 20 some books they want to read. I'm like, damn, no, it's, it's been a long time since I read 20 books in a year or set myself that kind of coal.

Jesper (40m 55s): I've never read 20 books in. He's three 20 bucks on a month. Are you kidding? Wow. That's amazing. I mean my wife always makes fun of me because whenever I start reading a new book it takes me like four or five months before I'm done with it. And in the meantime, so you'd read like 10 books. I get more done with one that does wake it up

Autumn (41m 15s): or would your a slower reader. But it's still, again, it becomes an addiction for me so I have to stay away from it. I want to be writing I want to be creating my own stories. I yeah and it's funny cause I think to if you are reading and writing at the same time, there's definitely a trend where you kind of take on some of the aspects of what you've been reading and you might change your tone, which is also like if you're in the middle of the trilogy, the last thing you want to do is totally change up your tone just because you're influenced by someone.

So those are all kind of the caveats. You know, you have to be careful about what you're reading because if you screw things up, you can screw up some big things.

Jesper (42m 0s): Yeah. But don't you think that that's more like if you're in your really early stages of writing, I mean, once you've written enough, you're not going to change your style just because you are reading something. I would say maybe maybe differently

Autumn (42m 16s): a subconscious change cause I've found myself using words that I would not normally or just the pacing's a little different. I can see things being influenced occasionally by what I'm reading. So I do watch that. If it's not, I don't want to read reading something post-apocalyptic on horror when I'm also writing Epic fantasy that's all. No Woolbright because I think, you know, you end up with darker terms and your characters are a little more melodramatic and you're like, no, that's not what I'm aiming for. Let's, it's like changing your entire mood.

I'm very much effected by what I'm reading. Again, that's why I live myself. It's like being on a diet. I just want to pick up a book, but I can't,

Jesper (42m 58s): no, that's the quite interesting actually because I think my mind sort of just come compartmentalizing everything so it doesn't matter what I read or watch. Uh, I mean, of course you're always going to get a somewhat of an influence for whatever you're reading or watching on Netflix or what, I mean, that's unavoidable, but I don't think that, I don't think that it really influences the way that I'm telling the story no matter what I'm watching. So I don't really think about that much. I just want so read whatever. I wasn't,

Autumn (43m 27s): Hey, you're a much, uh, you're much more of a plotter. And I don't know if that has something to do with it where I'm more about the answer. So I'm more of a hybrid. I'm definitely, I straddled the line between the two, so, yeah. Yeah, it could be that. So I have a lot more wiggle room where things get influenced more than maybe sometimes I'm meaning for it to happen.

Jesper (43m 46s): Oh, right. Yeah. But I don't know, may maybe if we are to if it's possible even to derive some sort of conclusion out of all this, uh, talking around, but I don't know. I, I'm sort of thinking that, I think we are both saying that if you should not like spend years reading other people's fiction, if it prevents you from doing any writing on your own, you know, at least I think that, you know, writing skills doesn't magically appear just because you are reading, you know, you'll have to be writing and that should be your priority.

So at least in my view, if you are so busy in your day to day life, then prioritize your writing and then if you can get in like maybe 10 minutes of reading

Autumn (44m 32s): before you fall asleep like me, then that's it. I think that sounds good as I'm tooting my own horn here. I know. Oh, that's all right. I think, I mean I tried to do it depending on how long a chapter was, just just one chapter is good. And then you know, then I never met the brakes come off when I start getting close to the climax. But reading is important, but yes. So you don't even know the questions of what to look for and the things to break down to see why you like this writing or why you don't like that writing until you've been writing.

So reading should definitely come secondary. Hopefully you've read books that inspired you to become a writer. So you have that backlog, you have that, that you know you from foundation right first and then read. And it's amazing. It's just like, you know, going to the movies with an author, you want to strangle people because they are constantly pointing out the clues and the plots were horrible. But it's true. We all do it. Yeah. That's my wife next to me in the couch when we were watching something.

She, she hates stuff. I think it just comes to us net. Once you start doing it, you just can't turn it off. It's so hard to sit there in silence. Yeah.

Jesper (45m 46s): We see the force yet and we see the potholes miles away.

Autumn (45m 50s): Oh yeah. Yeah. So, but you don't know that until you're writing and you're doing it yourself and then you and you struggle with something and then you read it, someone else do it and you're like, Oh, that's perfect. And you remember it from then on. So I agree. I think that's our take home message, right? First, you're already a reader, but you know, just just a little bit, there's a little bit of spice.

Jesper (46m 14s): Perfect. So in episode 60 we share of the cost of editing, but how much does it cost to produce a novel when taking cover, design and everything else into account? That's the topic for next month.

Narrator (46m 27s): If you like what you just heard, there's a few things you can do to support the amwritingfantasy podcast. Please tell a fellow author about the show and visit us at Apple podcast and leave a rating and review. You can also join autumn and Yesper on patrion.com/amwritingfantasy for as little as a dollar a month. You'll get awesome rewards and keep the amwritingfantasy podcast going. Stay safe out there and see you next Monday.

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