Sometimes by reading books.
Writers are readers, but there’s a catch. The more I understand the craft of writing, the more difficult I find it to get drawn into a book.
If you’re anything like me, you tend to notice craft issues:
- telling (versus showing)
- POV shifts
- poorly constructed sentences
- passive voice.
The list goes on, and they all throw me out of a story.
And then there’s a further limiting factor – the story itself. When you’ve read a lot, stories start to look the same.
It’s probably why short stories often aim for originality. You can devour a dozen or more short stories for every novel you read, if that’s your passion.
I love epic fantasy, but I struggle to read it these days. I’ve seen my full share of evil overlords and farm boys and similar tropes, and so it takes a rare book with those tropes to draw me in.
That’s not to say they’re not a valid trope, only that I’ve read hundreds of incarnations of that story.
When reading for pleasure, I tend to pick up books and give them a chapter at most to draw me in.
If they don’t, they’ll probably never get read.
And so it’s a complete pleasure when I pick up a book and get sucked right in, as I did recently.
While I’m not going to call it high art, I came away feeling inspired to write.
Here was a rare author who could draw me in and get me involved in the character’s life.
For the first time in about a year I cared what happened to a protagonist.
That’s a rare gift.
And an inspirational one.
If you’ve got a favourite book you think will draw me in, please let me know in the comment section below. Until then, the muse has struck, so now it’s time to write.