Read anything Interesting?

For some reason, when I am in the throes of writing a novel, I can’t read. No, I don’t lose the ability, I just can’t do it. I think I’m afraid that if I step out of the world of my novel and into the world of someone elses, I’ll lose track of what I was trying to do and maybe,  subconsciously, I’ll incorporate their ideas. Silly, yeah I know and I’ve been trying to buck that notion. Since starting Echoes over three years ago, I haven’t read a thing and I am normally a voracious reader.

I have a pile of new books cluttering up my night-table whose crisp, unbent spines shout out the authors names in accusation. Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Dan Brown, Susanna Kearsley, Rabindranath Maharaj, Seth Grahame-Smith, Robert J. Sawyer, Terry Fallis, Kelley Armstrong to name more than a few. And it doesn’t get any easier. Not only are these authors pumping out new books, but there are a number of up-coming authors like Lisa Adams, Noelle Bickle, Adele Simmons, Dave Jones, Stephanie Curry, Rose Moncada, Theresa Decker, Sue Reynolds, James Dewar and Ruth Walker plus several more from the WCDR, just waiting to be added to the already unwieldy pile.

These are books I would normally be dying to read but haven’t. I did start though. I read Zorgamazoo and Dust City, by Robert Paul Weston and I am currently half-way through Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt’s Dracula the Undead. I found out something in the process; writing has ruined my reading. Now I notice more; I am ‘aware’ (New word that I like-see Appetites).  Now I read with a critical eye. The same goes for watching movies. I’m a ‘B’ movie junkie, willing to overlook bad acting and poor special effects if the premise is good. I am no longer willing to overlook lazy writing.

So, what have you read lately that has really stuck with you? What are you looking forward to reading? And, because it’s in my own self interest, what horror/thrillers have you read lately and what made them good?

And speaking of lazy writing… I’ve been lazy and haven’t been writing much this week. Well, I guess this is a start and I have sent another query letter to another literary agent, so it’s not a total waste of a week.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an assignment waiting. The last assignment for Ruth’s course, in fact. All good things must end sometimes I suppose.

About Dale Long

Writing ambushed me from the shadows. At first I pushed it aside as nonsense, but luckily my wife and two girls saw the potential. Since then I have had an article published by Metroland, placed as runner-up and in the top ten in humour writing contests and various other contests. The icing on the cake was placing as runner-up in the WCDR's Wicked Words contest (130 entries) and having my entry published in the contests anthology of the same name. My entry was an exerpt from my upcoming novel, Echoes.
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7 Responses to Read anything Interesting?

  1. Hi Dale
    Thanks for the vote of confidence Dale!

    As for reading while writing, I didn’t read at all the year I wrote my first draft, and I missed it so much. Now I find that because I write commercial fiction, I just read a different genre and it works out okay. I love to read dystopian (my favourite) as well as historical fiction. But reading different genres makes you want to try your hand at writing one. I’d love to write a dystopian one day – think Hunger Games or the Handmaiden’s Tale.

    Good luck with your assignment!

    • Dale Long says:

      I have to admit, I really don’t read science-fiction much. Surprising, I know. I LOVE watching sci-fi though.
      I agree totally, reading other genre’s make me want to try writing them too.

  2. Pete says:

    Well, I have to admit that whilst I love stories, it takes me far too long to read a book. Not because I’m a slow reader, but because I don’t read regularly enough. I’ll read a few chapters, put it down, and not come back to it for a few weeks.
    But I don’t really stop buying books, so they just keep piling up.

    At the minute though, I’m trying to be better and am currently reading Stephen King’s first book in The Dark Tower series, “The Gunslinger”(don’t ask me how long it will take me to read all seven books) and Dark Angel: Skin Game, the sequel to the cancelled tv series.

    I view reading as an inspiration for writing most of the time.
    Sometimes I’ll read a book and think, “Wow, I could have written that so much better.” And sometimes its the opposite.
    Someone like Stephen King, who i really admire and think is truly fantastic, I’ll find myself making unfair comparisons to, thinking “Wow, i could never write as well as he does, or describe things so eloquently.” But still, i want to try. It motivates me to get back to the keyboard, or scribble a few notes down for future stories.
    Not only that, but I’ve found reading other authors allows me to tear myself away from my own stories, invest in there’s. So that when I’m done, i can look at my own stories afresh, seeing how i might be able to improve them, knowing what I felt worked in other novels.

    • Dale Long says:

      It’s funny you should say that Pete. Since I started writting, it’s ruined reading for me much for the same reasons. Some of the writting out there really needs better editing…
      As for comparisons, I don’t think it’s so much that as I see areas I could improve on.
      I think you sould really write a novel or even a collection of short stories.

  3. Lisa Llamrei says:

    Just so you know, you’re adding to my list of “to reads” as well.

    Writing hasn’t slowed down my reading much, but it has made me more discerning. It hasn’t taken away any of the enjoyment of reading truly excellent writing. I find it instructional; in fact, as I have only ever taken one creative writing class in my adult life, I learned to write from reading. (I don’t consider ANA a creative writing class as it was more about structuring a novel and keeping up motivation and began with the assumption that we already knew how to write.) I take mental notes of what I like about an author’s style and try to incorporate it into my own writing. So, for me, if I’m not reading, I’m not honing my craft.

    I do find that I have far less patience for sloppy writing than I used to. That being said, I find it useful to read a badly written book every once in a while. It reminds me of why I always strive to show and not tell, or shows me why ‘ly’ modifiers often compensate for weak verbs, etc., etc.

    As the others have already indicated, if you don’t want your writing to be influenced by what you read, read something that is different from what you are writing. While writing “Lifetimes” I avoided Laurell K. Hamilton’s “Merry Gentry” series because I didn’t want to be influenced by her vision of the Sidhe. Instead, knowing my next book would be a mystery, I read mysteries in order to submerse myself in the genre. Now I am staying away from them. My next book is probably going to be partially set in Ancient Egypt, so the next stack of books I will be tackling is a bunch of non-fiction history texts. Yeah, I can hear you yawning – what can I say, I’m a history geek. So, if you have some clear, or even fuzzy, idea about you would like to write for the next book, try reading in that direction.

    • Dale Long says:

      HAHAHA!! I’m a literary enabler!

      I am going to try and read again, problems is, the stuff I like to read is also what I like to write. I get panic attacks when I reading some of the back-covers. “It’s too close to what I’mwriting”, is my biggest fear. I don’t like to be compared.

      • Lisa Llamrei says:

        I understand that. I don’t like to read anything that’s close to what I’m writing, either. Maybe it’s time to start expanding your literary horizons and try something new. You might like it and if you don’t, at least you tried. You may end up expanding your writing repertoire as well.

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