Thursday, April 21, 2011
R is for Reading
Of course. This might be a bit of an obvious choice, but to be a good writer you need to be a great reader. I'm one of those people who think the best idea is to read as widely and deeply as you can. Even if its not your genre, even if its crappy writing, even if its a textbook, I feel like you can learn something from it, if not enjoy it. Here are different kinds of books you might look in to.
Novels, old and new. This is another obvious recommendation, that novelists read novels, but my point is that we should read all kinds of novels. Read novels published from last year, in the 1800s, in ancient Greece and modern China. Read romance, historical fiction, horror, fantasy and sci-fi, modern mainstream, paranormal, steampunk, and I would say most importantly, the classics. Read everything. I think every writer will tell you this, but it bares repeating, and its something we can all work on. Unless of course there is no book you haven't read, in which case you should just read them all again.
Magazines. Literary of course. Thats a given. But also magazines for science and gardening and architecture and animal husbandry. All that. National Geographic is a classic, and one of my favorites. They are a fun, quick way to both read new work and learn about things you might not know much about.
Biography and memoir. Get in some good non-fiction. It can help you really get into the head of someone else, which will help in making your characters more developed.
The Bible. I know, I know, but I'm being serious. Even if you're not religious, to say the Bible cannot be ignored is an gross understatement. I wish I remembered where, but I heard someone once say that the absolute best source of creative inspiration for writers was the Bible, and I think that might be a good point. While you're at it you might try the Qur'an, the Talmud, Confucius, the apocrypha, the Ramayana, other cool stuff like that.
Textbooks. I know they're boring. Trust me, I just graduated. But still, the reason for why read textbooks is simple; it is always worthwhile to learn. Even glancing at a couple charts every now and then is better than not. Maybe your next MC is a chemist or art historian. You might need a textbook for that. At least you would if you were me.
Anyway, hope this helps. I'm going to have to do better at taking my own advice as far as this goes, and expand both my reading time and substance. Any recommendations from you all?