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Sunday, February 2, 2014

To Read or Not to Read?

So, I've heard other authors say things like "I don't read other books because it will taint my creativity" or "I am too busy writing, I don't have time to read, too."

Hmmm...well, I must admit, I was in that category because I didn't have time either, until I started the Book Review Depot and had to start reading again because after all, it is my site. Book Review Depot

Now, I have read 29 books since the end of July 2013 and posted reviews for all of them. :) My conclusion? YOU HAVE TO READ IF YOU ARE GOING TO WRITE! Unless you think you are perfected and cannot improve, not even in the slightest, you must read others. Not to steal their ideas, but to understand how things may flow better, how dialogue might be presented more naturally, to find other ways to say 'he said, she said', or to find some consistent error that you have been making and didn't even realize because someone else did it differently and you finally went to look it up (Googling of course).

You will discover things you like and don't like-over detailed sex scenes in romance novels is one for me. I had never really read romance novels much before, so when I picked one up and got into WHOA too much detail, I knew exactly how I would not write that type of scene. (Not to say some of you don't like it that way, just not my preference.)

I've read science fiction novels and discovered the right amount of detail for laser firing and sound effects for my taste and how to format them in my own writing. Was it italics, all caps, separated by its own line? I felt that some formats were distracting, others made the action flow.

I've read "Hallmark-type" dramas, which are also not my typical read, but I've discovered how to give more depth to my own characters because typically those type novels don't have edge-of-your seat action to rely on to keep the story moving, so they have to dig deep into your heart and make you feel instead. Not to say action adventures don't make you feel...

I've read books where I could care less about the main character because they were unbelievable and unrelatable. Nothing happened in the beginning to make me care about their journey. Which is another thing I've learned. How to engage the reader from the very get-go! Please don't load the front end with so much detail about the flowers and plants and dew dripping from the trees that I fall asleep before page 5. I need a desperate moment or something like that to suck me in. Remember, come in late and leave early. I don't need to have 15 introductions of "Hello, Sam, nice to see you again. How's the weather?" every time new characters meet up in the story. Oh, and I really don't care what they are eating and if their napkin is neatly folded in their lap, unless it is relevant to the character somehow.

Soooo.... next time you are racking your brain and can't figure out how to write that scene that is outside your comfort zone, or why you want to stop writing and go do something else like clean your entire house every time you get to a certain part of your book, maybe you should open a book!


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  1. I think those who don't want to read other authors are afraid they'll be ticked off that they didn't think of the story first. Sad. They're missing out on how much it could help them grow. Great thoughts Ginger.

  2. You're absolutely right! The best thing anyone who wants to be a good writer can do is read, read, read! :)

  3. Ginger,

    Honestly, one of the reasons I chose to review 27: Six Friends, One Year is because I am writing a book based on "the 27 Club" and I wanted to be sure this book was not like the one I am writing. It is NOT. So, I am safe. :) I love reading. I can't imagine not reading.
    Thanks for posting this. It will definitely get people thinking.

  4. Ginger: I liked your post. Whittling down my TBR list now before I return to BRD. Cece Osgood

  5. Nicely put Ginger. Reading definitely enriches your writing. Once you are a published writer, it can also add a new dimension to a novel, because you can literally feel the writer's pain as they birthed their tiny creation.