Reading! If you have taken any anthropology class, you are probably familiar with the amount of reading that goes along. In graduate school, I was lucky if my assigned reading was under 200 pages–not to mention the projects outside of class for which I would have further reading.
Basically, I didn’t touch a work of fiction for about five years.
Why do anthropology students do so much reading? Because there is so much research that has come before us! We build our research projects, master’s theses, and dissertations on previously published knowledge. We need to know what’s been done before and how so that we can replicate or design something new.
It’s pretty much the same with writing fiction. I read in the genres I’m interested in writing so that I can see what authors before me have done–how they have succeeded and how they have fallen short. Not only that, though, I read writing “textbooks” that teach me about the craft of writing so that I know how to structure a story, create compelling character arcs, and write convincing dialogue. Finally, I read to research the elements of my story–from the environment to the architecture to the plant life and the genetics that go into my magic system.
Reading can take you to new worlds or it can help you see something new in the world we live in. I hope you have many good stories–fiction or not–in your future. See you tomorrow!