There is a definite advantage for the writer who is an avid reader. You get inspired not only by what people write about but how they write.
When I was starting out with my first novel I wasn’t sure how to tell the story I wanted to. It was to be story where a group of people in different places wind up in the same place. It just happened that I was reading a book by Dean Koontz. It wasn’t a usual genre for me to read but I was intrigued by the title, “One Doorway Away From Heaven.” He had written that book with the same need-to bring his characters from various places to a point their paths crossed, and it worked. Over the last few years I have bought his book four times. It was a great story, loved the dog’s point of view, and every time I loaned it out, I never got it back. Don’t ask to borrow my latest copy.
Seeing the mechanics of Mr. Koontz book helped me get my historical characters to Polk County. You can learn a lot about writing by simply reading. As I mentioned earlier, I volunteer at a library and we put about 40 new books a week out on the shelves. Writing and reading are still hot topics.
In high school we were required to read four books in a term for our English class. Of course you had to turn in a report to confirm you did that. I did that every week. By the end of the first month the teacher just said, “You don’t have to turn in any more reports this year. I’ll just assume you’ve read all you need to.” It didn’t stop my reading, but I appreciated not having to turn in the reports.
Researching the details for my writing has proven to be a delight too. I spend hours reading books, especially with photos, about the history of the time period I’m writing about if I writing historical fiction. Having my facts right just adds so much to the stories. The photos give me visual details that help with the descriptive nature of a novel. If I’m writing science fiction I have to research the latest technology so I can imagine what might be next. I am really hooked on research.
Book clubs, volunteering at a library, finding a book partner to discuss a subject with, all those kind of things will broaden your frame of reference as far as what you like to read, how others write and how to find facts you will need. The more research you do on your subject, the more authentic it will come across to your readers.
Have fun, find something interesting to research.