>Last month we discussed workshops and how they could help you’re writing. This month I want to discuss how reading different authors can help your writing. How you may ask? Just wait and I’ll tell let you know. 🙂 I’ll even let you in on who the authors are that have helped me. With May being a big month for new releases this is the best time to get started with thinking about the authors who could influence you as well.
Over the years as I’ve gotten into reading thanks to friends and my Flyboy hubby my writing has improved, as you can imagine, being dyslexic and a writer isn’t the easiest thing and reading wasn’t something that interested me especially in school. Granted when you’re high school being told what to read when do you really want to read it? Back than the only two authors that really spoke to me were Shakespeare, and Poe. Yes I like dark things. In college, the first time around, I got into, Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, and a few other poets they became inspiration where books at that time could not not. That however has changed in recent years.
I’ve learned over the years that reading isn’t just school work, or something that authors do just for fun. It is something that helps us learn our craft. We better our writing when we read. We learn what we like, dislike. It can also help us in other ways like I was saying above, like being a muse, which I’ll get into. Reading can show you different structures, character developments and details to setting that you may not have thought of.
Books that can become your muse. I know it sounds crazy but its true, some books can move you to the point of becoming a muse. I recently had one do this, Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness when I was finished reading it all I wanted to do was edit Legacy and make changes too it. It help because after that I was asked to send in a proposal to an agent. So you never know when the muse will hit. I’ve never had a book be a muse. They normally help me in other ways and to be honest you have to be careful there are some that can have the opposite effect. They can stunt you’re writing and you don’t want that, it’s like having the dreaded writers block. So please be careful when you pick you reading materials.
Reading a good book can give you ideas on structure. I say this because you’re able to see what works and what doesn’t. And when you find a book you like and if it works for you, you can see how the structure flows and incorporate the bones of it. I’ve gotten structure ideas this way, in fact for this I looked at James Patterson’s 1st to Die (The Women’s Murder Club) to get ideas. I needed a way for my readers to know what was going on with my villain when normally they wouldn’t. In Legacy it’s important to the plot and for the reader to know what he’s doing at times. So I have POV changes where we see what the villain is doing. I didn’t follow Patterson’s pattern but he did give me ideas on a structure to use which I needed. I was at a loss before finding Patterson’s help, and having the villain’s thoughts add to the mystery.
Character development and setting. As a writer reading other authors can help you think about both of these. And yes I could put them in separate paragraphs but for both the same authors have given me inspiration and I figured it was just as easy to put them in the same paragraph. Plus when we are reading and find this kind of help as a writer we have to be careful not to accidentally or subconsciously use parts of what you have read in your writing so make sure you’re not writing/editing and reading on the same day. Just to be on the safe side. Now that my motherly feeling is out (considering I’m not a mother) lets get back to the authors who have provided insight into some great character development and setting for me. The four that I look to for these are Kim Harrison, Carrie Vaughn, Jim Butcher and a new found author for me Chloe Neill. With these four authors I can re-read their books and get ideas, for different characters or setting and not falling to using what they have used. They make me think about how I can bring the people and places to life. How to make things buzz in the readers mind well after they’ve put Legacy down, as they do with mine.
So for all you writers out there if you haven’t been reading lately you might want to, you never know what it might do for you. Until next time, keep reading and in touch.