Someone wrote to me about two stories in a magazine, commenting that one story would be a favorite of the readers of the magazine and the other would be a favorite of the writers. I thought about this and wonder if this is a distinction worthy of exploration.
Do writers read differently than people who have no intention on spinning tales of their own?
There are many times that I read something and pick it apart, looking for construction and how character is developed and plot unveiled. Those times, I will study paragraph construction and sentence usage. As a matter of fact I've found myself doing that today while reading Stephen King's "The Gunslinger", which is the first of the "Dark Tower" series. But then, there are other works of fiction that I devour without any consideration as to form.
When I worked as a film critic, I seldom broke apart a film until after I had watched it. As I told someone: "If I am sitting there thinking about acting, direction, and editing, then something is wrong. I should be immersed in the experience."
Should the same thing be said about writing? As we read should we be enjoying the experience, or is it a failure if we find ourselves picking it apart as we go along? Or as writers do we approach the craft or art with a different perspective? There's no right or wrong answer or perspective here, it's just something to think about when reading.