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Alejandra Inclán: To Be A Great Writer, First Be An Avid Reader

Mexican author explores why reading others helps would-be writers hone their own work.

To become a successful author, a writer must practice their craft daily, as well as read extensively. For Alejandra Inclán, Mexican author of novels such as “La Pieza Que Me Faltaba” (“The Missing Piece”) and ‘No era quien me dijeron ser,” (“I Was Not Who They Told Me To Be”), writing always involved reading.

“People learn from what others are doing. Therefore, the way to perfect language skills and translate them into writing ability is to read what master writers wrote,” she said.

She believes that every writer should be a reader-writer, as it is the only way to get immersed in the topics they are writing about. Seeing the examples set by other authors allows a writer to reaffirm their own thinking.

The novel, “La Pieza Que Me Faltaba” by Alejandra Inclán, addresses the issue of gender and its influence on society. (Christian Valera Rebolledo/Café Words)

But that doesn’t mean simply imitating the work of others.

“It doesn’t work like that,” said Inclán, who has a communications degree from the Universidad Veracruzana. “A writer must learn what others are doing and thus further their own style. It’s like if someone wished to make movies yet would not even watch the most commercial of films. It’s incongruous. Although everyone knows how to write, that does not mean that everyone knows how to do it in a literary way.”

Reading others also helps a writer know the basics of literary construction to give proper structure to the dialogues and paragraphs.

 

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“Even the most versed poet has had to undergo through several drafts and an editorial process. After all, our creative mind does not always see our spelling, grammar, or even cohesive mistakes. That is why it is also important to read before writing,” said the writer.

As Inclán recognizes, the intellectual work of a writer requires words. While that may seem obvious, in linguistic terminology, if the exact phrases or words are used repeatedly, a writer’s quality deceases, since they are creating a text without variations, contrasts, or emotion.

(Translated and edited by Mario Vázquez; edited by Matthew B. Hall)

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