Alyson Burdette's Take on Writing

As a writer, I spend a lot of time researching ideas, thoughts, and things in general. Google is my best friend. I read lots of books, magazines, and newspapers. I watch a ton of movies and television shows. I do a lot of this is because I enjoy doing it, but the more I write, the more I find myself analyzing everything I take in. Entertainment is more about learning and understanding stories for me now.

When I watch films, I study the characters, the plot development. I try and spot all the little pieces that make each movie work (or fail.) When I read, I’m not just doing it for pleasure anymore. I tear apart the pacing, the dialogue, and every bit of a story in a way that’s really not fair to the author. I want to understand why a story is successful and enjoyable, so I can emulate that in my own work.

Of course, the problem with this is that it’s easy to get lost in other people’s ideas and techniques. There’s a little piece of unique author voice that can get lost in the shuffle of trying to do things in a way that is pleasing to the reader. Writing can be a careful balancing act between art and science. Really successful authors are those who have mastered this process. Anyone who has ever written anything can tell you that writing is hard work. Sure a lot of it is fun, but it takes real time and effort to put together a functional story.

Every time I read something, I hope it helps me become better as a writer. I think most people in general read to improve themselves in some way. They read to distract themselves from the strain of everyday life and cope with their personal struggles, or to educate themselves on whichever topic catches their interest. Stories (whether that be books, or movies or whatever else) generally improve and enhance our lives. That’s why it’s so important for writers and people in general to take in as many stories as they can. They make us better writers and better people.
Visit Alyson's writing blog:

Enter the drawing for a copy of Alyson's novel Nightfire by leaving a comment on this post.


  1. Totally agree, Alyson. We absolutely lose what makes us unique by constantly evaluating our work against what we're reading, etc. It's great to find out what it is you enjoy (or maybe don't) about movies, books, etc. But how you apply that to your own work needs to be considered carefully.

    Sometimes, even if you love an idea, it just won't fit into how you do things. Which is fine, too. :)