When I’m let loose in a bookstore (a very dangerous thing for my wallet), I make a beeline for the fantasy section. I usually only stay for a few minutes, check for certain authors, before I head over to the shelves of romance novels. Then I weave through the broadly categorized books of fiction. My eyes search for authors that I recognize or titles that peak my interest. Some days I’ll wander through the history section or the biographies. And of course my wallet compels me to at least walk through the clearance aisle.
I push myself to read books in genres that I wouldn’t normally choose. This has gotten a whole lot easier since I became a regular patron of my local library. It gives me the freedom to try new genres and authors without worrying about a bad investment.
The benefit outweighs the cost of the gas to drive to the library. Ever since I began reading YA books on a regular basis, I’ve noticed that my writing has improved. I seen it in my NaNoWriMo novel over the past few weeks. Scenes that I’ve seen dozens of times in YA novels are suddenly appearing in my novel. One scene in particular, I have a hard time believing that I came up with it. But my fingers typed it out in front of me. And I love that scene. It’s great for the first draft.
For the longest time, I was stuck in a rut of only reading what I wanted to write. I’ve since remedied that mistake. I read everything that I can get my hands on because I never know when I’ll find something that inspires me. Sure that means I’ll pick up books that I don’t enjoy. But I’d rather figure out the why I didn’t like a book, avoid those aspects in my own work, and then put that author on my ignore list. That way I’m always learning. Always improving my writing.
Do you read a wide range of genres? Has that helped your writing?