Wednesday, March 27, 2013

What Are You Reading by Diana Flegal

"A man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them."   Mark Twain

What are you reading now?

As an agent, I periodically receive submissions from writers in a genre that they do not read. Hard to understand.

It just makes sense that they would write in a genre they are familiar with. But it does explain why those very submissions are inferior in quality and lack a vital element: Believability. 

I recommend authors practice the Immersion Technique. A technique often used in learning a new language.

Immersion works on the assumption that your brain will pick up, absorb and store what it is subjected to on a routine basis. Our brain then accesses this 'stored knowledge' when needed. As you read good novels, you will begin to internally grade other novels accordingly and become a connoisseur of good writing. Develop an appreciation for it, like one does for fine wine or beautiful art. Of course these things are subjective and relative to individual taste.

If you are desiring to write inspirational romance novels, it would be a very good idea for you to become acquainted with current popular inspirational romances. If you want to write a Sci-FY title, I would like to think you have a pretty good idea how one should read, because you read them routinely.

I read everything. Toothpaste tubes and cereal boxes, but mostly nonfiction self help books. Or nonfiction titles that explain and offer me new information about subjects I am interested in. So, you would be right in thinking those submissions are the ones I can make the easiest and quickest decision on. Contemporary fiction would be my next strength, followed then by romance titles, contemporary first then historical, then fantasy and sci-FY. I am not as familiar with genres I only read occasionally, but do have my favorite authors in them as well. But I can recognize good writing in all genres because I read a lot. Reading serves me well in what I do.

As an author, your writing will vastly improve as you read in your genre.

I just finished reading a contemporary fiction novel and have started a mystery. I also have three nonfiction titles going. Two on business building and another on spiritual growth.

What are you reading now?


Sandra Ardoin said...

I read lots of historical romance, especially 19th century, because it's what I write and I enjoy it. I also like and read a good bit of contemporary romantic suspense.

Right now, I'm reading a historical romance set in the early 1930s.

Anonymous said...

I’m savoring the last pages of Maeve Binchy’s, A Week in Winter. I’ll miss her. On the NF side, I’m knee deep in gardening books. Where is spring??

Linda Glaz said...

I had to laugh at you reading toothpaste tubes. When I was younger I always read (fanatically) the road signs. And I mean fanatically. I thought maybe I had a mental tick like issue, but I discovered as I got older, I just HAD to read anything that was a written word. Now I feel better. I'm in good company and can tell you about almost any road sign. hahaha

Anonymous said...

I just finished Robert Ludlum's "The Bourne Identity." It's not my usual genre I read in, but my mild Bourne/Matt-Damon obsession made this book irresistible when I found it at a used bookstore.

Jeanette Levellie said...

This 'splains why we hit it off, Diana! I read shampoo bottles, the backs of greeting cards (not just the price!), and cupcake papers.

Just finished a devotional on marriage by Cec Murphey, and am currently reading Write Tight! by William Brohaugh, God Calling by Sarah Young, an Agatha Christie mystery, as well as magazines, blogs, online articles, and an occasional novel.

As much as I love novels, I hesitate to start one, because I neglect all but showering, eating, and feeding my cats while I'm INTO one.

Diana said...

LOL Linda, too funny and Jeanette, that's even a crazier list than mine, but we are SO alike... Sandy, you can tell you read what you write in because your writing sings. Kathryn, Mauve is one of my all time fav authors. I have that one on my goodreads 'to read' list. It is my goal to own a hard copy of all of her books. I think I am missing 4. Her characters stay with us long after we close the pages of the book.

David Stearman said...

Just read Gideon's Corpse--Douglas Preston/Lincoln Child, 'cause I love contemporary adventure with just a hint of the paranormal, which I also love to write. And I've gotta say I like to read the well-written ones for two reasons: they don't bore me, and and reading them seems to make me a better writer. In songwriting we used to say "you write what you listen to." Same principle holds true for books, I think.

Linda Glaz said...

If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times, writers are a quirky bunch. hehehe

Anonymous said...

I am reading The Door Within by Wayne Thomas Batson (young adult fantasy). My son loved it, so I want to see why. I loved fantasy as a teen, but I am disappointed with so many that I try now. They have become too dark. It is because of my immersion and enjoyment of the genre that I think this would be my genre to write. I am slowly building the world in my mind.