Sunday, April 10, 2005

Reading and Writing

I know some writers who say that when they're writing a novel they can't read novels. Everyone has their own way, but I'd go nuts if I couldn't read fiction while I write it. That would mean I couldn't read novels for the better part of a year.

Writers who adhere to this self-imposed rule do so, they say, because they're afraid they'll be influenced by the style of the writer they might be reading.

I read all the time. And learn. I learn from good books what I should do, and from bad ones what I shouldn't do. I don't learn anything from some books, I just enjoy them or throw them across the room.

But reading others is the writing school I went to. And I haven't graduated. I hope I never do.

As I said, I learn from writers, but I've never found myself imitating a style. That's not to say that other writers don't have a legitimate reason for their ban on reading fiction when writing.

I believe writers all have different ways to accomplish what they set out to do.

For instance, those writers who say they write in coffee shops. I could never do that because I'd find myself too interested in what the couple across from me was saying, or listening to the waitress give her spiel.

Still, I have my way, too. I can't write anywhere but in my own house at my own desk on my own computer.

Rigid, isn't it?


I had a good five day week. I'm advancing the story as I should be and getting new ideas all the time. Some places are a mess but that's what rewrites are for. What did we do without computers?

I know I have to go back and change some crucial bits of information, but I'm not worrying about that now. I need to press on and get this first draft down.

I'm two and a half months away from my deadline. It's important that I meet it because the publisher wants to publish this second book in hardcover when the paperback (I think it's a tpk) of the first book is released. So no more days off, except for my birthday. I can hand in the book two weeks or so past my deadline but not much more.

I was late by that amount last year and that was due to illness. If all the stars are lined up right I'll make it this year.


Anonymous said...

When I started writing, I was influenced by other's styles. Now the other style's just bug me. Actually, writing has made me very picky as a reader. Recently I hurled "The Wakeup" across the room because the author shattered his credibility with a poorly researched computer hack. Other times, I "see" the writing, complete with flashing neon "here comes the exposition" appearing before me. It's more present for me in genre writing than in other types, so now I tend not to read genre fiction so much.

As for writing in coffee shop, I used to be stuck on that... but I've recently learned that if I want to get things done, I need to write anywhere, anytime.

Suzanne said...

I like to get out write in other places, but it's not (yet?) a job for me so maybe I can afford the distractions.

Yay for sticking to your schedule! Sometimes rigidity is just what the doctor ordered.