writeafirstnovel

follow a rookie writing his first novel

A week of reading

From the title of this post you can probably guess just how much (or little) actual writing I managed to do this week. Now, I am one of life’s great procrastinators – why do something today when there are an endless stream of tomorrows; right? But, the main reason I haven’t written anything this week is that I opened a book to read. Just a little something to accompany my morning coffee ritual. However, some books are just too damned good to put down and in my opinion Stray Souls by Kate Griffin aka Catherine Webb is one of them.

It has everything I try to put into my own writing – it is contemporary, based in a real place although it has a strong magical element, witty and in places laugh out loud funny. Every sentence is considered, loaded with humour. It is a fine piece of writing and one I would be chuffed to bits if I could manage anything half as good.

It did get me thinking though; is it always a good thing to read material closely related to your own writing?

On the one hand, you can learn from it. see what is possible. Gain heart from the knowledge that others are interested enough in your specific genre and subgenre to write about it themselves. On the other hand, it can point up all your own inadequacies as a writer (when it is this good) which is fairly depressing. Personally and on balance, I think it was a good experience, because it is only by reading writing that is better than you can do yourself and striving to be at least as good, that you can improve.

So ‘kudos’ to you Ms Griffin and back toย the keyboard for me…

 

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3 thoughts on “A week of reading

  1. This is going to sound like either a boast or a complaint, but I’ve never really read anything that was “closely related” to my own writing.

    It’s not a boast because it’s not anything I was trying to achieve, and it’s not a complaint because I don’t really care (I would care if I was trying to sell my stuff, but I’m not — I know the first thing you get asked these days anyway is who you write like).

    Maybe it’s because I’m not all that influenced by books in the first place (at least compared to movies, old-time radio, and some television — and of course comic books).

    Well, maybe there’s a whole bunch of writers out there who are doing what I’m doing and I just don’t know about them. Or not. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • We are at opposite ends of the spectrum as I rarely watch films and read a lot of books. I’m trying to remember the last comic I read; I think it was around 1969 and probably a marvel comic – Thor and Spiderman were my favourites ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Comic books got weirder in the 1970s, mostly because writers and artists were given a lot more leeway (for a while). Some writers were allowed to edit their own books. For a few years, the inmates were closer to running the asylum (as happened in music and movies as well, as I talked about here: http://u-town.com/collins/?p=3287).

        Then things went back to normal. ๐Ÿ™‚

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