Writers Should Read

The Classics

By Annette Rey

You probably have seen the movies made from these great works written over a century ago  – Sleepy Hollow (1819) by Washington Irving, Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde (1886) by Robert L. Stevenson, The Cask of Amontillado (1846) by Edgar A. Poe and many more.

We are so spoiled! I mean, we live in this fast-paced society and movies are faster to digest than the time it takes to read the original novel. So movies do perform a service. They save us time.

But, has that spoiling done us some harm?

Just viewing a movie cheats us of the original work of the artist. And I say artist as opposed to using the word author because once you actually read these stories you will see what you have missed in the way of art.

Film creators sometimes do a good job portraying these stories but good is not great. The written word reveals the world and characters and story the artist/author welcomed you to be part of.

For instance, I have read Dracula (1897) by Bram Stoker. Many movie versions of the story of Dracula have been produced. Some are kitschy and vapid and vacantly entertaining. Others are meant to be spooky and eerie and do a better job to portray the idea of who Dracula was written to be.

None of the movie portrayals have done justice to the written word. And there are many great works waiting for you to read.

Here is a short suggested list to begin with (don’t forget the three greats mentioned in the first paragraph above and Dracula).

  • The Invisible Man (1897) G. K. Chesterton
  • The War of the Worlds (1898) H. G. Wells
  • Rebecca (1938) Daphne du Maurier
  • The Murders in the Rue Morgue (1841) Edgar Allan Poe

And though not story length, this poem is worth your time to read slowly and aloud so as to drink in the mood. Creepy feelings are good when digesting Poe – The Raven (1845).

My goal is to get you writing. Besides being an entertaining pastime, there are more reasons to read than meets the eye.

  • Your writing will be inspired by reading.
  • Your brain will grow.
  • You will SEE these writers’ ideas on the page.
  • Your own ideas will subconsciously plant.
  • The more you read, the more your language skills will improve.

All of the titles mentioned here have been made into movies. Another time I will introduce short stories from times gone by that have not been put to film, stories that will stimulate your spinal chills and deductive skills.

I can’t wait…

3 thoughts on “Writers Should Read

  1. I don’t agree with what you say about movies, they’re not a cheat but a separate piece of art entirely. Hitchcock’s Rebecca is a masterpiece. I personally think what Burton and co done with Sleepy Hollow exceeds Irving’s attempts.

    And The Godfather, Jaws, Psycho, The Shining, Shawshank Redemption are just a few examples of films way better than their books were.

    I know you probably weren’t disparaging movies per se, but it’s not binary. For writing purposes, there’s obviously great benefit in reading, but studying film will give you a firm understanding of story structure and dialogue.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the thoughts. As I wrote in a previous post, some people learn better visually and movies probably speak to them louder than the written word. For myself, I prefer creating my own version of an image in my mind that the writer is producing for me by his choice of words. So the written word speaks louder to me and makes my brain exercise uniquely, as opposed to accepting the images Hollywood would choose for me. Thanks for reading and viewing!

      Liked by 1 person

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