In the comments section of yesterday’s post, Mira raised an interesting question: do you really need to be well-read to be a good writer?
William Faulkner also weighed in with a comment (okay, it was John Ochwat reprinting a William Faulkner quote): “Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it is good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out the window.”
I’m guessing that most people would agree that one should be at least somewhat to very well-read if you’re going to write.
But how well-read do you need to be? And especially: how well-read in your particular genre do you need to be? Should you be familiar with everything or should you stay away to avoid influences to your writerly voice?
And what’s well-read anyway?