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?