Drawing Inspiration from Fiction

My name is Katie Lehman.  I could use this space to tell you about myself, to basically state my resume in paragraph form so you all know my areas of study and extra-curricular activities.  But I think that would be a waste of both your time and mine.  Instead, I want to get right to the reason we’re here: writing.

I believe that, in order for someone to truly be a fantastic writer, they must also be a reader.  Not only does reading help to keep your mind fresh, but it also allows you to learn new tactics for writing and to gain new ideas.  After finishing a great book or an exceptional article or any other amazing piece of writing, I find myself inspired to write myself, usually focusing on what made the writing I just finished so remarkable.

When I get the chance to read for myself and not for class (which is happening less and less these days) I usually enjoy reading fiction books.  I often choose books based on recommendations.  Many of my friends will let me know when they read a book that they really enjoyed and, when I’m looking for reading material with no ideas, I often turn to the internet and find out which books have people talking.  The books that really draw me in are the ones that create connections between me and the characters.  In my opinion, the mark of a truly incredible book is if I feel happy or sad when something good or bad happens to a character in the story.  If a book makes me cry or actually laugh out loud, I think it has done its job.

The translation of reader connection into fiction writing is obvious- create relatable characters that the reader can connect with emotionally.  I think finding this connection with readers should also be a goal of academic writing.  While the connection obviously cannot be made in the same way, since there are not usually characters in academic writing, the same principle of attracting the reader in by actually making that person care about what the writing says can still be applied, and that is my goal when I write.  While there is a great deal that can be drawn from various forms of writing, I believe that finding a way to make readers care very deeply about what a piece of writing says is one of the major lessons that reading can teach a writer.

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