Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Reading outside the genre

Over on Wendy Woo's blog, Wendy has some excellent reasons for not reading outside the genre that she writes in. The main one is that it dilutes her focus. I have to agree here completely, even though I'm not writing creatively at all at the moment! Within historical fiction, I also like to read those books which are set in my particular area of interest (Late Roman to Early Anglo-Saxon Britain), but there aren't many books set in this era. So I do actually read quite widely within the genre. Reviewing for the Historical Novel Soc helps as well, as that I get offered books ranging across all periods. The ones I'm currently down to review are set immediately post WW1 and WW2.

But when I do get books set in my period, for similar reasons to Wendy, I'm either narked by how bad they are (normally the research is, shall we say, 'hopeful' rather than accurate) or downhearted as they write so well, when my stuff's rubbish. With other eras, I can be more objective and learn a bit more, be it about writing or another period. Wendy Woo is concerned about apeing another author's style, but I don't find that much of a problem (chance would be a fine thing ... )

Meanwhile, writing at all would be nice at the moment, but I'm really not feeling at all inspired, plus I'm doing the historical essay. The deadline is next week, and I reckon I won't make it. There's always next year!


At 1:04 pm BST, Blogger wendywoo said...

Hi Alex!

I didn't think anybody would have read my mindless blatherings yet today! :)

I'm going to add a link back to you in my list asap.



At 11:43 pm BST, Blogger Gabriele C. said...

Lol, my reading habits are way too varied; I'd be bored if I had nothing to read but historical fiction. Though right now I do have a few Roman/Dark Age Britain stuff on my list (Cornwell, Scarrow, Sutcliff). And I've become rather impatient with sucky or plain uninteresting books - probably a result of my studies where I had to read a few too many of these. I don't finish books I don't like, it's a waste of time. That, of course, leads to the problem that I can't compare my own efforts to bad books and draw confidence from it, I always compare my crap to books I like. On bad days, that's not a good thing. ;)

At 11:23 am BST, Blogger Diane said...

I've finally started to rework my novel, Night Crawler, but in order for me to get a feel for the genre, I'm reading Ann Grainger at the moment, but often I'll read Sue Grafton or Dick Francis. I find that helps a great deal.

Loved your sock and sandal, by the way.

At 5:47 pm BST, Blogger Scott said...

Have you read David Ball, Ironfire? Great book about the last siege of Malta in the 16th century. I'd love to write historical fiction, but I don't know enough about any era to be of use. I'm fascinated with the old west, and would love to have some kind of reference on what it took to really make it back then.

At 12:38 pm BST, Blogger Tess said...

I like reading outside my area of interest - gives me a different perspective :-)

Sorry to hear of the lack of inspiration - that's never fun. Hope it comes back soon :-)

Good luck with that essay!


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