Sunday, February 11, 2007

Shock and Awe

Status: 30,000 words

Some writers don't read while they're in the middle of a book. Some writers read, but not in their genre. I can understand why. A couple years ago, all it took was one good book to shift my narrative voice. Suddenly, I was piling on the adjectives like Michael Connelly, or waxing poetic like John Connolly. Or trying to reel out the laconic, time-stretched action sequences of Sarah Gran, UPSIDE DOWN by John Katzenbach. Truly fine books, one and all. DOPE was the most intimidating for me, though. It's closest to my own writing style, and she's intimate with the same world I write in. If we weren't on the same bus ride through Hell, we definitely booked with the same tour company.

I'm glad I read it now, while I'm full of enthusiasm for my new work, and not in another month or two, when I'm lost and lonely and not at all certain this thing I'm doing will come together at all.

It will, of course, but a sleepless night or two is a part of that process.

Anybody out there have books/authors they avoid while writing? Or ones they seek out for inspiration?


Kate S said...

You're not alone. I've unconsciously taken on the tone of other writers if I've read their books while I was writing something else. I didn't realize it until I started revisions, then was annoyed with myself.

As for deliberately seeking inspiration, the other day I pulled out a book with a story line similar, but not exactly like, one of my own--just to see how she handled certain things--and put it down again quickly because I realized I would be too influenced by it.

OTOH, my daughter says whenever I speak to someone with an accent, I start talking just like them. I'm totally unaware of doing it, but she's not the only one who's mentioned it, so it must be true. Maybe some of us are more "spongelike" than other. :P

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm pretty much a compulsive reader so I read all through the time I'm writing on a project. I actually tend to read from the same and similar genres to that in which I'm working because that's where my interest lies at the moment. I think I used to take on the tone and flavor of whoever I was reading but I don't think that happens much to me anymore because I've become sort of "set in my writing ways." And, even if I should inadvertently take on a "false" tone that'll be reworked out of the final piece by an extensive drafting process.

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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