Writers: Do you get bored when you read others' works?

Although the thread title refers to books, I’m also interested in whether screenwriters, writers for television shows, or any other person involved in crafting a story ever gets bored with reading/watching someone else’s work.

The closest thing in my mind to this situation is that of a magician at a magic show. The magician knows all the tricks of sleight of hand, misdirection, palming, ringers in the audience, etc., so I cannot imagine that a magician could enjoy such a show. Were I a magician, I’m not sure if I could “turn it off”.

I’ve read Stephen King’s On Writing, and his advice is to read, and read frequently. He also mentioned that he still reads voraciously. I just can’t understand how he, after writing so many novels, could still get anything out of other people’s stories. It seems that knowing all of the “tricks” that writers use to engage the audience would interfere with his reading the book for what it is.

Please forgive my ignorance of the writer’s craft. But I’m really interested in how you keep your interest when reading others’ works.

The mechanisms that you may use as a writer may be completely different than the mechanisms that others use. Everyone has a different voice and a different story to tell, their own unique approach to making it happen. I never get bored with the writing of others (unless it sucks) for just that reason. And I’d wager that a magician would love seeing another magician’s show, to analyze the nuances in the other magician’s work on a level that laypeople just could not.

And sometimes, the writing is so fantastic, you forget you’re a writer, too, and you just become the reader, pulled into the story. Remember, I may be a writer, but I was a reader first. Just like that magician who will always remember the first time he saw a magic show and how enthralled he was by the performance.

When you’re a writer it’s much harder to read a bad book. Good books are perhaps even more fully appreciated than by non-writers.

Someone who knows the skills involved in writing is all the more likely to be appreciative in seeing those skills applied well. Although I am a professional writer, there are plenty of writers who are better than me, and I enjoy seeing what they do (and try to learn from it). Even good writers have weaknesses as well as strengths. King, who is a good storyteller, is hardly the best writer in the world. I’m sure he enjoys seeing other writers carry out an idea well.

I agree with Exapno that being a writer yourself makes bad writing more intolerable. I find really bad writing excruciating, since I am constantly rewriting it in my head.

What about the mystery/thriller genre, though? Wouldn’t you (the general “you” I mean), as a writer, be able to see how the author would tie up the story a lot faster than a causal reader would? In my mind, I can see you deconstructing the story and seeing where all the twists and turns are going, just by the manner in which the author has included them.

Thanks for the serious responses, by the way. I was wondering if someone was going to think this was a joke thread. This is something I have thought about a lot.

I can sometimes figure out where a story is going more quickly than an average reader because I can see the techniques being used. But I don’t hold that against an author.

It is similar to a magician who watches another and who knows how the trick (or “illusion,” if you prefer, Gob) is being done. You still can enjoy the showmanship.

I get bored by books, but I don’t think my being a writer has anything to do with that. They’re just books that don’t hold my interest.

I think that to be a writer, you first have to love being a reader. I don’t see how you can be a good writer without first being a voracious reader, in fact. That doesn’t change for me when I am writing my own projects. I still love reading and read for pleasure. However, my tolerance for mediocre writing is lower, and I am much more willing to drop a book if it doesn’t hold my interest. And as mentioned, knowing a little bit about the techniques of writing do make me more appreciative of those authors who have mastered them. Sometimes my pleasure in reading a really good book is threaded with much envy for the writer’s talent.

I get bored or frustrated by other people’s writings when they are boring, or frustrating. My experience writing, editing and teaching others how to be better writers has made me better at explaining why crappy writing is crappy, but the things which bother me now already bothered me when I didn’t know a label for them.

Right now I’m reading a book which is pretty nice except it uses words which got invented about 100 years after the period in which it’s set and there’s some bad repetitions. But I’m not reading it with a red pen, I just have to poke my inner editor to shut her up when the writer does those things.

My father was a carpenter and he never lost his zest for looking at other’s work. For me at least there no “trick” to it. It is craftmanship and a person who can craft a good piece of writing just wows me. I am reading constantly and given quality writing, I am seldom bored. Besides that I am constantly learning new “stuff” and that keeps me from being bored.

As a song smith I can appreciate good music, and I really really hate lazy crap music.

Good equates to structure, sound, instrumentation, voice, words, melody, post production, ect., all of which a certain music genre entirely lacks but yet is popular despite being crap.
There are a few gems that shine through, in spit of itself.

No, it has not “ALL BEEN DONE BEFORE”. :rolleyes: