I have always been an avid reader. I love my books and have been known to tote around the book I'm reading to work and sometimes to family functions. When I take my kids to an activity (dance, gymnastics or swimming), you'll find me in the corner, face buried in a book.
Since coming back to writing my own stories, the way I read has changed. I've learned so much recently that it's hard not to read differently. I still read for pleasure and get lost in the stories, but now I'm looking at things differently.
When I pick up a book , I'm noting the way the author has put together the story, how characters and places are described, use of language and all the other fun stuff that makes a story. I notice the way I'm relating (or not) to the characters and try to look at why that is. How is the author invoking this response from me (or not)?
Heck, I even watch television different now. While watching Elementary, I've been paying attention to the way the mystery unfolds and the way they put the clues together. I've been looking at the tension between characters and how the episode unfolds and forwards the larger story while some of the sub-plots are wrapped up or also moved forward.
I've always enjoyed thinking about stories and characters on a deeper level. Now I can analyze what the author did to bring a story and characters to life and hopefully use some of that in my own work.