It is good to read extensively before you begin to write. There are different types of reading depending on the speed of each individual – slow readers, fast readers, skimmers and analysers.
How do you read?
Depending on the type of assignment you are writing, as a slow reader you will gain a lot of knowledge and detail from what you are reading. It is sometimes more difficult to write a non-fiction publication. Fiction writing allows free expression and individual creativity. Writers of fiction have a lot of freedom to make use of their creative minds, to compile their thoughts and present their ideas in a logical manner to their consumers, the readers of their work. A fiction writer needs to hook their readers, to get them ‘glued’ to the passages they have written. They must also have the knowledge and creativity to make their readers always want to read their work.
Non-fiction writers need to read somewhere between a slow and a fast reader’s pace. Fast readers read to get information to feed to their readers, with enough facts on the subject they are writing about. For example if a writer is writing a book to be used by lecturers and students, then that writer has to be able to answer questions his or her readers might ask as they work through the book.
This type of writer always has the audience he or she is writing for in mind. They have to be organised: good at planning and researching, with analytical skills and fast reading skills to be able to consult books and journals widely.
Remember reference information
Have your goal in mind and take notes while reading. It’s important to keep accurate records so that you do your referencing properly. It’s very easy to copy information from a certain book or journal and then forget to copy all the details needed for accrediting the author and publisher. Doing this properly shows that you are serious about what you are doing.
I once forgot to include the date of a publication; I did not even mention it in the text and I was supposed to hand over the assignment in the morning before the library opened. Even if the library had been open there was always the possibility that I might find someone had borrowed the book, because there was only one copy in the library.
What I eventually did was to remove the information I had used in my text and the book from my list of references. This experience taught me to be accurate: whenever I want to use information from a book, I copy the details of the book first and then the information I want to use below it. It’s best to use a small amount of information. A short, brief summary of the content is fine.
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