As ye read, so shall ye know
Posted October 11, 2010on:
Most of my life I’ve been a reader of fantasy or SF type novels, a consumer of those types of fictions generally. Just read my bio, it says so right there, and we all know that if it’s on the InterWeb it must be true.
So it follows rather logically that when I found myself wanting to express myself creatively that I would use fantasy and SF stylings to do it. Well, fantasy, really, SF requires too much research of matters that were irrelevant to my story ideas. The closest I’ve come to SF is my latest novel, a futuristic paranormal. As a fantasy author I knew what I was doing and why I was doing it. I haven’t taken a single creative writing class or joined a group, but I read a lot and I pay attention.
Then came publication and marketing of my books, about which I had read nothing and knew nothing. I’ve blogged about these nightmare experiences elsewhere, but the important part for my purposes here is that I formed a bookstore. It was a logical progression. None of the bookstores that existed would put my book on their shelves, so I created my own and put my book there. Except that a lot of people who read books don’t necessarily read fantasy books. Fortunately I happened to know a publisher…
In order to sell a book I found it’s really helpful to have read it first. Even the larger bookstores know this, although finding employees with a good knowledge of the subject matter and decent people skills sometimes defeats them. For me the subject matter was limited, and my people skills weren’t really an issue. Some other blog post. Anyway, one of the good things about Echelon Press books is that they are all character-oriented just like mine. I was reading mysteries, romances, paranormals, even Westerns, and I was enjoying the experience.
As a result, my writing began to change. A Warrior Made has a great deal more mystery and romance to it than Unbinding the Stone ever did. (I invite you to get them, read them, and make the comparison yourself.) St. Martin’s Moon even more so. My short stories show even more variety. Compare ‘Chasing His Own Tale’ with ‘Chasing His Own Tale 2’ (when ‘Chasing His Own Tale 2’ comes out, that is) , ‘Off the Map’ to ‘Ex Libris’, or ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ with ‘Undermind’. Of course not all of these stories are out yet but that just means that you can read the others so that when they do come out you’ll be ready! All I’m saying is that the more you read, the more you’ll know. And the more you know, the more you can and will find yourself writing about. My publisher asked me to write a steampunk holiday story, and right away I got an idea. Now I intend to read a few steampunk stories to see how it’s done!
Hasn’t this ever happened to you?