Sunday, April 27, 2008

Writing and Reading

Writers love to read.

Writers need to read.

Writers hate to read. . . .

Writers love to read because the reading came first. No chicken or egg confusion; most likely their adoring parent/sibling/caretaker was reading to them before their own little fingers could grasp the page. Then a magical bit of prose was read that captured their attention, along with an especially brilliant illustration or photograph (Long Live Picture Books!) and they were hooked.

Writers need to read because it's not a self-sustaining craft. You only get better at writing if you consistently write. . . but you must read, read, read in order to grow, as well. You can read books in your most beloved genre. You can read craft books, research books, peer blogs, magazine articles, critiques of work you both love and hate. But you have to read.

Writers hate to read because writers can appreciate, perhaps more than anyone else, how a well written book captures and holds your attention, usually to the detriment of everything else. Captivating. . . we all want our work to be captivating.

The problem is, I've yet to meet a writer who's satisfied with the number of hours in her day. We need to think about our story, research our story, write our story, talk about our story, tear apart our story and write it again. The last thing we need is some new ( to us) , simply amazing author coming along with her expansive, wickedly compelling backlist which seduces us into abandoning our own manuscript in order to lose ourselves in her amazing characters.

So thanks a bunch, Suzanne Brockmann. Is it not enough that you were friendly, genuinely charming, the consummate professional while you signed a mountain of books for wildly adoring fans? Must your writing not only live up to, but wildly surpass my expectations as well? I held off reading Hot Target as long as possible, but a thunderstorm and no computer did me in. Now I hold Breaking Point in my hands, and there's really no hope of working on my own projects today.

What about you? What author has everyone read but you? Have you discovered an auto-buy in an unexpected place, or a genre you didn't even expect to like? Who else do I need to read NOW?


Maggie Robinson said...

Hmm...lots and lots of contemporary authors. It took me forever to break down and read Nora, but how can you not? But since I prefer historicals, I know I've missed out on some great Navy Seals and Urban Warriors and CEOs.

Gillian Layne said...

See, I've never read Nora yet. That backlist is frightening.

I didn't expect to love contemporaries as much as I do. It would be easier to dislike something!:)

Alice Audrey said...

Brockmann is great. I love her SEALS. I like Tara Janzen too for much the same reasons I like Brockmann.

terrio said...

I haven't read Brockmann and I cannot be sucked into another. Though now that I think about it, I'm sure she's on my TBR shelf. Heck, everyone is on my TBR shelf.

I haven't read Lisa Kleypas (pauses for group gasp) and I'm about to jump into Sugar Daddy. Then on to Blue Eyed Devil. I've been putting her books off forever because I know what will happen. The same thing that happened when I found Jo Beverly many years ago. It took me a LONG TIME to find all of her books but it became my mission in life.

However, back then, I had more time. Now, not so much. *sigh*

Gillian Layne said...

Alice, I'll have to google Tara Janzen to satisfy my curiosity. :)

See, Terrio, and I actually did a double-take (No Kleypas??? Are you kidding?) but I don't blame you one bit. I assume you will love Sugar Daddy; I did, after putting it off forever because I was a die-hard historical fan. But she does contemp just as well. She's just all-around brilliant. :)

terrio said...

Gillian - I love both historicals and contemps but admit I put off Sugar Daddy because I don't like hardbacks. I'm cheap and weak, what can I say? LOL!