|Me & my daughter - riverside reading|
When asked what advice I have for beginning writers I usually include, “Read a lot.” I truly believe it’s an important step to developing your own writing voice. The funny thing is I no longer consider myself a beginning writer – I’d probably classify myself as emerging. Yet I’ve realized the advice is still valid.
Recently I’ve had a run of what I consider lackluster books. The writing is decent. The plots are fine. But in the end there isn’t enough to really make me want to talk about them to anyone. Maybe there is little or no chemistry between the characters. Usually there are no surprises.
I almost always read through to the end of these books, hoping something will happen to redeem them in the end. Then when it doesn’t I’m left feeling like it was a waste of my very precious reading time to have invested in a “formula” story. Guess what. It wasn’t a waste at all!
This is the exciting part…
As I’m reading stories that hold little of my attention, I’m mentally skimming my own works-in-progress to make sure I’m not writing a “formula” book. I’m trying to recognize missed opportunities in my story when the characters can react in unexpected ways or where the results of their actions can become a surprise that will turn the story in a different direction.
See why reading is important? Why reading all you can – the good, the bad, the boring, the thrilling – is crucial to YOUR writing? It’s just pure bonus that it’s also fun. Well, usually.