If authors have to write a half a million words before getting published,I think that reading is an integral part of writing. I've already blogged about why I keep on top of my genre, but I think it's important to branch out into other genres. I've found, when I read books in my genre, I tend to be focused on story, and if I'm not, I'm focused on genre-specific craft (i.e. what new twist is there to the genre). With other books, I can learn more about more general craft. For example, I'm currently reading The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult. It's brilliant, as is most of her work. But, since I'm working on revising POV and voice, I noticed how wonderfully she crafted the POV switches.
I'd venture they might have to read ten million.
--Julie Kramer, Stalking Susan
But if Julie Kramer says I need ten million words, then I'd like to add that TV counts! I know TV makes us lazy, but there're still some shows out there that inspire and focus on story. My new favorite show is Eli Stone. It's the best thing I've seen on television in a long time...it's a borderline favorite. This show crafts a story with comedy, tragedy, and an important message all at once! If I can write something that can make my readers laugh and cry as quickly as I do for an episode of Eli Stone, then I will know that I've made it as a writer.