Another Strange World

Supporting Indi Authors with Fiction Analyses, Fiction Writing Studies, and Writer Resources

Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Willem van der Meer by Michiel van Mierevelt via Wikimedia Commons

Close Reading: My First Step on a Literary Analysis Journey

To be a good story writer you need to read stories. The stories you really love are the ones that you should dissect, scrutinize, feel-out, learn from, and form opinions about. This article gives you a basic method of close reading which is the first step in learning what your favorite authors do to make their stories shake your tree.

The first time I read a story it is for the pure joy and experience of reading it. But, after this first passive foray and if I decide I liked it, I deepen my communion with the writer by willfully applying a greater portion of my psyche to reading more actively.

Perhaps because I have been reading and close reading (and even closer reading) for so long, I automatically incorporate close reading into my passive experience. There is certainly a difference in the way I read now and the way I read in my teens and twenties. It doesn't bleach out my experience with the stories I read like some famous authors claim it does for them. Don't be afraid to close read.

I like to read stories and to listen to them in audiobooks. I also read them outloud. In all methods of reading, I always try my damndest to act out the scenes that are being described either mentally, verbally, or even at times physically.

A story experience is not wholly on the author. It's up to the author to create the potential experience, but it is up to the reader to experience it as fully as they can. Once you really live a story, then you can know it more deeply and profoundly and a truer, deeper psychic connection is formed between your psyche and the writer's, even across centuries of time.

If you aren't trying to learn a writer's methods and device usages or to pen literary analyses, you can stop whenever you feel satisfied with your reading. But, if you're looking to wring every last bit of bloody meaning and living symbols from a work, then you need to really grind on it. This kind of reading can actually be quite taxing and is an active study rather than a passive reading, though I find it vastly more entertaining.

So How Exactly Do I Do It?