Reader, Writer: Where's The Line?

I recently found myself pondering my personal delineation between writer, and reader. I was re-reading one of Jim Butcher's books in 'The Dresden Files', and admiring his ability to provide strong descriptive narrative without detracting from the story's pace - no mean feat. I caught myself analyzing a couple of paragraphs, trying to identify the elements of narrative that were so effective for me, as a reader. The tricky thing is that I, as a writer, was thinking about how I, as a reader, felt about different narrative techniques. It was when I noticed this appearance of duality that I got to wondering about that question of delineation.

      For me it's a lot like a vin diagram: much of my reader, and writer, identities overlap. This seems intuitive, and likely to be to true for many. Some interesting things emerged from this observation of selves. One such being that there is a fairly large bundle of styles, genres, and techniques that I enjoy writing, but very rarely am interested in reading. That bundle is represented by scattered files of unfinished stories, poems, and genre impaired narratives - various experiments that all require more experiments before they can be completed. In short, it's a lack of exposure making me unfamiliar with that kind of literature, and it results in far more time spent figuring out the basics. The reasonable thing would be to start reading more from these unfamiliar realms, and thus increase my familiarity with them. This hasn't happened, so far.

      The biggest overlap between my interests as a reader, and as a writer, is within the field of snarky, adventurous fantasy. Admittedly, the stuff I write tends to be quite a bit more ridiculous than much of what I read. I've always had a flare for the extreme, and a rather outrageous sense of humor. This all shows most clearly in 'The Inn of Adventures' stories that I'm writing (the second one will be out sometime next week). Imagine a traditional fantasy adventure, throw in a blend of Monty Python and The Three Stooges, spice heavily with snark, weave in some espoused pseudo-logic, and you'll get a sense of what it's like.

      It's not uncommon to read of an author proclaiming the start to their writing interests being founded in a desire to read things that simply weren't out there, yet - stories of their own imagining that they couldn't experience as a reader without first crafting as a writer. I find that this often applies to specific stories for me, more than to my initial interest in the craft (which I don't remember, but I've been shown a number of one page stories that I apparently wrote for class in elementary school, including a very strange cheeseburger recipe).

      Some of my stories evolve from simple dialogue experiments gone complex, others are scenic narratives that accidentally capture a battle. The Inn of Adventurers started out as a quick exercise in creating synergistic characters. There is often an element of wanting to read an idea I've had, and in order to do that I have to find a way to write it first. In the process I get to see where the idea goes, and am, in essence, reading the story as I write it. In so doing the reader and the writer function as one, and the associated behaviors do the same.