Why Published Authors Always Tell Aspiring Authors to READ

I agree with Diana that if you want to write, what you have to do is 1. Read and 2. Write (not necessarily in that order). There are endless good reasons for this, but I came across one today, while reading Dorothy L Sayers' translation of Dante's Divine Comedy. Being a product of the 20th Century, it never occurred to me that roads, paths, trails, etc. were not always divided in two, for traffic coming and traffic going. Apparently, in the good old days, people walked wherever they wanted on the road! If I had thought about it, of course, I might have realised the truth of this. But how much more fun to be reading something entirely different from the focus of your own story, and come across a small detail that counts as research. Back in ancient Ephesus, then, the mixing of crowds passing in all directions on the street would be something Austin might notice and comment on, especially if he's running away from one place and trying to reach another.
(Dante referred to this in passing when describing how the city of Rome organised road traffic on the Bridge of Castello Sant' Angelo for the Jubilee Year 1300. The rule was: keep to the right - just as it is today)


But if people are just walking, say on a street closed to vehicular traffic, they don't necessarily stay along the right side of the street.

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