Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Still Reading and Writing Reviews

It sounds completely strange but I’ve had it happen often enough to know my experience is true with a number of would-be writers.  Let’s say they write mystery suspense, as an editor, I will ask them what type of mystery suspense books they like to read. The writer will stand looking dumbfounded and have a long pause before they admit, “I don’t read mysteries. I just like to write them.” You can take the exact same conversation and take out the words “mystery” and “suspense” then substitute your genre of fiction like political thriller or romance or futuristic or horror or spiritual warfare. These would-be writers wonder why their material never hits the mark. They are not reading and studying the material which is getting published and successful.  As I’ve written about in these entries about the Writing Life—someone inside a publishing house (who is thinking about their readership) has thought enough of these published books to invest a lot of their financial resources and bring these books into print. While admirable that a fiction writer is motivated enough to write 60,000 or 100,000 words on their particular story, it’s not enough. These writers also need to be reading in their particular genre of fiction.

Also I find that some writers only read in a certain area—say fiction. Or I’ve heard other well-known journalists say they only read nonfiction. I tend to read fiction but I often will pick up a nonfiction book and read it. The pattern is shown in a few of my recent reviews. I’ve already mentioned one of the books in an earlier entry about the writing life—Behind the Screen. Here’s my review of this book.

Also I enjoyed the latest entry from Oliver North and Joe Musser called The Assassins, which was a complex yet page-turning novel. If you follow my writing life and my reading habits, you will know I enjoy reading biographies.  Recently Family Man, the Biography of Dr. James Dobson by Dale Buss was released. I enjoyed Family Man and have more to say about what I learned about the writing life in a forthcoming entry.

In the meantime, you can follow the links and see that I am continuing to actively read books—not only magazines but books. It’s one of the ways as writers we can continue to grow in our understanding of the world of publishing.

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