February 26th, 2008

books shelf

Reading while you write

I'm gearing up to start revising THE HALFWAY HERO, and to prepare I've started reading some of the high fantasy novels I've accumulated through BookMooch and other means. When I was rewriting POSSESSING LUCY, I read lots of crime, mystery, and suspense novels. It's a habit I've gotten into, that I find works well for me. I don't only read books that are like what I'm writing, but I find reading similar stuff helps get me in the mood, gives me ideas for techniques I might use in my own work, and may make me aware of cliches or 'already done' devices that I want to avoid (for this last reason I also tend to read a lot in the same genre when I'm brainstorming for and outlining a potential novel).

So it's interested me that in the last month I've seen at least a couple fellow writers comment on how they're avoiding books like the one they're working on, because they don't want it to influence their own project in ways they wouldn't like. Just another way that every writer works differently! It's amazing how subjective the process is.

To satisfy my curiosity, take a moment and let me know which way you lean?

Poll #1144994 reading while you write

When you're writing a novel/story, you

read stories that have things in common with what you're writing, for inspiration or other reasons.
read stories that are different from what you're writing, so you're not influenced or for other reasons.
read whatever you're in the mood for, regardless of what you're writing.
something else explained in the comments.

I'd love to hear your reasons, too!