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Writer Development Activity – Reading Part 2
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In this second of a two-part article on reading as a development activity for developing writers, I am going to suggest reading the work of various authors from previous eras just as I did in the other article of the pair.

In this instance, however, I am going to focus primarily on authors who live/lived in the United Kingdom with perhaps a smattering of authors from other places in Europe or Asia.

As with the partner article, this list is by no means exhaustive. Also, because my focus in these suggestions primarily concerns fiction writing, unlike the counterpart article on American authors, I will not go all the way back to the earliest eras of English language writing with one exception. This is because for the most part the modern version of fiction really did not arise until some centuries into the history of English literature. Earlier works, such as Beowolf, were generally of a more mythic or poetic nature.

The one exception to that rule is Chaucer’s Canterbury tales, and at some point in the study of the writing craft, that is indeed a worthwhile study to engage in.

So, here are some recommended United Kingdom authors the study of whom can help you develop your critical reading, and thus your writing, sensitivities. When you are considering what kinds of books to read to help you in your study of the fiction writing craft, consider some of the authors in this list.

Geoffrey Chaucer

Dante

Charles Dickens

Alexander Dumas

William Makepeace Thackeray

Sir Walter Scott

Rudyard Kipling

Robert Louis Stevenson

Daniel DeFoe

Mary Shelley

Henry James

Joseph Conrad

James Joyce

Jonathan Swift

J. R. R. Tolkien

Lewis Carroll

Arthur Conan Doyle

C. S. Lewis

Jane Austen

Mary Shelley

Lewis Carroll

Anna Sewell

Dorothy Sayres

Agatha Christie

Dick Francis [some of the earliest novels demonstrate life circumstances that later technology has outdated. For example, one novel includes story incidents related to automobiles back in the day when everyone carried lots of spare parts. Some other of the novels even up to about 1980 or so have curiosities in the storyline that later technology outdated.]

As with the companion piece article for this article, this list is not exhaustive: however, it probably comes closer as to classic literary authors to completeness than my suggested American authors list does. Oversights are probably more in the first part of the 20th century than the earlier authors. However, between this article and its companion piece on American authors from early times, you should have a good, solid list of books to read in service of developing a critical eye for fiction and thus a sense of crafting your own fiction efforts.

Unlike the companion piece article, I do include on this list some authors whom I have not read, because I know their work more by reputation than some American authors . . . although I have read at least one work by most of the authors on this list.

I am also going to wrap up this particular article by taking the opportunity to include two oversights on the American authors list that I stumbled across mention of while researching this article.

You may want to add to your American authors list:

Earle Stanley Gardner

Mickey Spillane

Altogether, you will gain some great insights by reading a sampling of the articles by these authors who wrote in earlier time periods: even well into the 20th century.


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