Consume stories, regardless of the medium

There is a lot of good writing advice out in the internet ether that recommends reading a lot if you want to write a lot. This advice has a lot of truth in it, and it is important to read to help your writing craft. However, today I want to talk about the benefit you get from consuming stories in any medium, not just through reading, and the benefits it’ll give you as a writer.

Stories each have a particular way of being told, and the medium through which the story is told will tell the story in a different way. Look at any book or movie adaptation of your favourite book – it’ll tell the same story, but the story has to be adapted to accommodate for the different needs of the new medium. Perhaps it is time constraints of an episode, or if a movie then the time constraints of an overall film. Maybe there are elements that can be conveyed in a different way – for example, long introspective passages in a book have to be shown in a visual medium rather than being described to the reader.

Also, there could be types of stories that you might not enjoy in one medium, but could manage or be interested in another. I know that is certainly true for me – I don’t really enjoy reading thriller books, but tv shows are more interesting and engaging for me. The benefit this gives me is that I can pick up on tropes and useful tools that will help aspects of my story which are also “thriller” in nature. After all, you might not necessarily consider how a “confidential source” is paid for their information, unless you’ve watched or engaged with a story that has one in it.

So yes, it is important to read to help complement your writing craft. However, it’s also useful to consume stories, no matter what the medium it is in, so that you can be exposed to different types, genres and levels of successfully storytelling. All of these will help complement your existing craft and narrative tools, to help you tell your story even better.

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