Francine Prose wrote a book called, Reading Like a Writer. I didn’t finish it, but I remember its main point: a practitioner of the writing craft should read differently than a non-practitioner. He or she should notice more about the words, sentences, paragraphs, pages and books that he or she consumes. A reasonable point. But what if we switched it around? What if, as well as “reading like a writer”, I try to “write like a reader”?
What the hell does that mean? Well. At its heart, it means remembering that books are read mostly by non-writers. By people who don’t care overmuch about anything besides story, meaning, substance, usefulness, impact, and entertainment. It means remembering that books exist to be read, to be used, consumed, abused, and in some cases, loved.