This week, though I didn't do a lot of writing, I did something that all writers - no matter how seasoned or "emerging" they might be - should really do. I read scripts. I read a script that Onyx lent me, which was nothing that anyone in the League had written. I read a script for someone I met at one of the Meetups that we've been going to here in the City. And I read material submitted by Leaguers for our most recent meeting, which was last Thursday.
Every week, king suckerman asks his readers what they're reading. As my family members will acknowledge, it's very odd for me to be a huge advocate of reading. I grew up hating reading. Unless it had Batman in it (and even then), you'd be hard pressed to get me to voluntarily open a book and sit down and process the words printed on its pages. It's only been relatively recently that I've done so willingly - and enjoyed it. Yet recently, I've taken to reading. I read on the train to work each morning and evening. I read when I get home (when I'm not writing). And, more and more, I find that I love reading. It's something that my father has done for as long as I've known him. The man has stacks of unread books scattered around my parents' house, because every inch of bookshelf is packed with books that he's read time and time again.
We spend a lot of time on this site talking about writing, but with the exception of suckerman's discussions, we fail to mention one of the most crucial aspects of writing - yep, you guessed it. Reading. If you plan on making your career as a screenwriter, it's imperative that you read not only other scripts - look at those that won awards, those you loved, those you want to imitate, and even those you hate - but read classical material, as well. I'm currently making my way through Dante's Inferno (on my way through the Divine Comedy). There's a reason this and other material is considered "classic;" it's proven itself time and time again. More and more stories are being told, which are based on 10-12 core formulas, depending on who you ask. When we went through NYU, we were taught that there were really only 10 stories, and everything since they were first put to paper has been some adaptation of them.
Reading is crucial to writing. Yes, what you're reading can impact your writing. But that's not always a bad thing. Certain stories and elements work for a reason. I'm just doing my damnedest to expand my horizons as a reader, and hopefully, in the process, as a writer, too.