Welcome to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. On the first Wednesday of every month we blog about writing, hoping to encourage others out there. We are all about connecting, sharing, and ‘rocking the neurotic writing world’.
Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!IWSG
Hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the awesome co-hosts for the January 6 posting of the IWSG are Sarah – The Faux Fountain Pen, Jacqui Murray, Chemist Ken, Victoria Marie Lees, Natalie Aguirre, and JQ Rose!
This month, we are exploring the following question:
Everyone has a favorite genre or genres to write. But what about your reading preferences? Do you read widely or only within the genre(s) you create stories for? What motivates your reading choice?
I’m a self-confessed lover of fantasy fiction. My Dad read Lord of the Rings to me at five years old; I grew up with Ursula K. Le Guin, Anne McCaffrey, Philip Pullman, Katharine Kerr, Terry Brooks, Neil Gaiman, and of course the wonderful Terry Pratchett.
I devoured fantasy like it was going out of fashion. Transported to other worlds, I forgot the dreary British weather and the monotony of school, exploring new worlds and magic on the backs of dragons. Or cheeky luggage trunks with hundreds of tiny legs.
My introduction to science fiction came in the form of John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids and The Trouble With Lichen. Philip K. Dick, and more of Le Guin and McCaffrey followed. I loved the cross-over of the two genres, and still do hold a special place for space fantasy and its near cousin, space opera.
But what about other genres? I’ve jumped into the words of Stephen King (though The Dark Tower has remained with me the most), but most horror has visited me via television and movies. There’s a lot to be said for psychological thrillers, the twisting, creepy tales that leave you guessing at every turn. But I’m not a fan of reading the true gore… unless it’s in a spec fic novel!
Then again, I love a good murder mystery. From Agatha Christie to Kelley Armstrong, from Enid Blyton’s Famous Five to Patricia Briggs’ feisty detective Kay Scarpetta. I especially love a strong female lead.
Back to the question. Do I read widely or only within the genre I write for? The honest answer has to be, both. How, I hear you say?
A few years ago I began reading Urban Fantasy. It was this foray into a different style of writing that spurred my own belief that I, too, could write novels. I’d always loved to write, but hadn’t focused too strongly on it, having that wonderful thing, imposter syndrome, always looming over my shoulder. When I first read a book that made me sit up and say ‘I could do that better’ (sorry, UF writers, I know this could apply in any genre), I then read a whole bunch more. Self-published authors, as well, whose work might not have undergone as thorough an editing process as others, showed me a glimpse of the variety of published authors out there (again, I know this is by no means the rule—simply my belief at the time). Nonetheless, this spurred me to focus on writing again, and here we are now—where I’m querying my first novel and writing every day.
I still read heavily in my genre, though I’ve switched to space operas in particular since that is the world of The Archivist series. But I don’t read exclusively in that area.
Sometimes, it is good to escape from what you write for a while.
From science fiction to fantasy, to historical fiction, to family drama, to stories from other cultures and countries, I am open to all. I like to read non-fiction, especially emerging science, climate and biological issues, and mental health research. I think it’s important to keep up to date with current affairs, and to read widely both in and around your subject. For my own learning… and because I never know what may find itself influencing my next story, idea, or characters. I love to learn, and I want my children to love reading and learning, too.
But I still love to curl up with a good murder mystery.
What about you? Which genres do you read, and why? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
Click here to see how other members of the IWSG answered this month’s question.