Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Reading Variety

Hey gang!  I wanted to spend just a little time talking about what I see as an important aspect to a writer.  Not only does a writer need to write, but a writer needs to READ as well.  And not just those genres that you enjoy, either.  You need to read a variety of books, from all kinds of genres, both fiction and non-fiction.

Seriously?!  Why would I advocate reading something that you don't enjoy?  Am I nuts?  Well, we can take that up at another time, but think about this for a few minutes.  You already enjoy your particular genre, let's say that's Science Fiction.  You've read a lot in that genre, probably a lot of Asimov, plenty of the Star Trek novels (they just keep coming!), etc., etc.  And you know what these people like - they like SciFi!

But, what about reading a western?  What, you ask, would be the benefit of reading a western?  Well, think about this for a minute.  If you read a few westerns, you might suddenly conjure up a new SciFi story with elements of old westerns.  Maybe there is a unique melding of the 2 disparate ideas that you could form, making a unique world that is all your own.  How cool would that be, to start your own unique series?

What about reading romance?  Do you think that you might be able to learn a few things to make your relationships more believable, more real, more true-to-life?  And what about non-fiction books?  Using my SciFi example, have you kept up with what is actually happening with the space program for the United States?  What about China?  Europe?  Private space companies?  These can spark a lot of new and different ideas that you could incorporate into a new world or your existing world.

Perhaps there is a biography that you've been wanting to read about.  So, read it!  You never know, you might find some character details that are interesting and that you could devise a new character, or a new villian.  Maybe the great-great-great-great-great-grandson of a dictator comes on the scene, but he is now the dictator of a whole planet!

This is what makes writing fiction so much fun!  There are plenty of ideas out there to keep people busy for years; even more so when some of these ideas are put together in new and interesting ways.  And humanity's progress on a variety of different fronts suddenly changes our understanding of how things work and provides new fodder to exploit.  So, read, read, and read some more - in a variety of different genres.  You'll find plenty of new ideas to exploit and make your own.  Cheers!