Okay!! I’m really jazzed! I was working out this morning and I needed something to listen to; so I started re-re-re-re-listening to Stephen King’s “On Writing.” If you’re a writer, you simply have to read it. It’s a must! Seriously! If you haven’t read Stephen King’s “On Writing” and you want to be a writer, stop reading right now and get it. Here’s a link to Amazon.
King always gets me really fired up. Whenever I start to feel “bla” about writing, I listen to his book and I get raring to go!!
Today, I was listening to the part where he was discussing the two golden commandments for writers … to read a lot and to write a lot. I think he said we should read four to six hours a day. Personally, I believe that’s a bit much. I figure I read maybe two hours a day—maybe an hour on the treadmill and ten minutes in the car to work and a few stolen minutes here and there. When you work full time and have a family and want to write, finding four to six hours is a bit difficult.
But I’m getting side-tracked!
In On Writing, King asks the question, “What should you write?” and his answer is “Whatever you damn well want.”
The question then arises, “What should you read?”
King doesn’t talk about that much and the prevailing thought on the internet seems to say that writers should read the genre they like to write. And this makes sense. If you like to write fantasy, you probably also like to read it.
But I wonder, does reading books in your genre somehow inhibit creativity? Do you worry about subconsciously “stealing” from other authors? For example, I’ve found myself writing characters who talk like the characters in the books I was reading at the time. Does that make sense? Does this ever happen to you?
I don’t have an answer to this. I’m just genuinely curious what you all think. Those of you who write, do you read mainly in your writing genre?
This is something else that I want to throw out there. I would suggest that not only should we read in our genre, but we should make ourselves read outside our genres as well. After all, reading a romance story would help me learn to write the romantic scenes that occur in my fantasy. Same with horror and thrillers and so forth. After all, a book may be listed as an “epic fantasy” but it should also have elements from other genres.
I would also suggest that we should read non-fiction. I know I pick up a lot from reading histories of medieval periods. It helps infuse a touch of realism in our “made up” worlds.
Okay! That’s if for me today. I just wanted to throw some of that out there and see what you all think. I’m off to write! I hope you’re all having terrific days!
See you next time!