Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Rules of the Writing Game

Before anyone shouts, "Off with her head," or snaps shots, clickety-snap, of me in furtive poses and mails them off to some alphabet soup agency, I'll admit it up front. Seriously. I'm choosing to break two cardinal rules of the real writing game. Yeah, I'm that honest with you. Here goes.

1. I'm typing, in black and white, that there are rules to writing.
2. Although there are undoubtedly a million or so rules, I'm only sharing one.

Read What You Write.

It's such a part of the writer, ingrained if you will, that it really should be an unwritten rule. And yet. I can't help but think of myself as a case in point: the last time that I finished a young adult fantasy novel I was perched twenty feet in a tree. In September. It's been four months!

Even more appalling is the fact that my current WIP is mainstream fantasy. Not YA at all. And the last time I read that genre was last Spring (Robin Hobb's Shaman's Crossing for the more vicarious of you).

I've read a million or so books since then: mostly serial killer or mystery or Amanda Quick (the only romance author allowed into the house...though Quality is sadly missing in her last twenty or so books).

Thus, it occurs to me that I'm sadly lacking in the whole "reading what you write" aspect of being a writer. In fact, I suck. Therefore, gentle reader, I am heading off to amazon.com to rectify that -- and before you castigate me for not heading to a local indie book-store, please note that I 1) live in a small town and 2) am on a severely limited budget. As in tiny.

But you -- you're different, right? You always read what you write. Right? Okay. Tell me the truth: what are you currently writing versus what are you currently reading? Be honest :)


  1. I have been reading what I write--lots of YA and Middle grade novels, as well as some short stories. Much as I love these books, it's always a treat to read something written for grown-ups (my husband says that people who don't write books for children have a different understanding of the term "adult novels," which is why I avoided that phrase and went for the convoluted "written for grown-ups").

    Anyway, happy shopping and reading!

  2. Meh.
    My biggest problem is that I spend way too much time writing and hardly any reading.
    I think you should change the rule to:
    Read who you want to write like.
    And occasionally some you don't, just for contrast.

  3. I'm a book addict and will read anything really - I think it helps to open a writer's mind and explore different texts and styles of writing to help inform and improve our own writing.

    Great post

    Julie xx

  4. I definitely read what I like to write. If you check out my Goodreads page or my Shelfari page you will see a lot of mystery/thriller titles, with the occasional Ayn Rand, Tolkien, and Stephen King just for grins.


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