What to read?

Posted: September 18, 2011 in Writing
Tags: ,

There is a problem that I bet a lot of writers, both established and hopeful, have. It has to do with what to read during their own time. There are lots of choices out there, and probably tons of advice as well. Let me see if I can cloud up the waters a bit more.

There is an urge when you are writing to read your genre almost exclusively. After all, it will give you a good grip on what is expected in the genre, this making your own writing more precise. I can see the value of this line of thought. You can’t possibly meet the expectations of your genre if you don’t know what they are.

Beware, however. If you don’t look at what other genres have to offer you may miss out. Mystery/Thrillers can give you great plot development ideas. I find that a sci-fi/fantasy novel cannot be beat when it comes to placing you physically in a scene, and a Romance novel can often give you some of the best inter-personal dialogue (according to my wife).

Your mileage may vary, but I think the point is valid. Look to other genres to spruce up your prose. If that doesn’t appeal to you, at least look at older examples of your genre. Things are different now than then, but there are gems to mine in all forms.

  1. Marcia says:

    Good point, Jason. I enjoy several genres, so this isn’t a problem for me. However, I do read more within my genre since I began writing a historical novel; it does help to keep me in line with regard to period cultural requirements such as slang, major events, dress, etc. There is much to learn from each genre, i agree.

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