I have read many pieces of advice on how to be a better writer – and frequently I am told to READ more!
This is by far the best tip ever, as reading more is one thing that I can do very easily. But what should I read? Should I stick to books written in the same genre as those I am trying to write, or should I just read anything and everything?
You may have read in a previous post that I found it quite difficult to pigeon-hole my own writing into a particular genre, so finding other books in a similar genre was always going to be tough. I finally decided that my genre was mystery and suspense, which – as it happens – is also my favourite category to read. Maybe subconsciously I had already come to that conclusion (I live in hope that there is a great being, guiding me through my journey to authordom, so who knows? – and, yes, I do realise that ‘authordom’ is not a real word, but I like it!)
Anyway, I digress (for a change!). But, if I am already reading loads of mystery books, maybe I would be better advised to read other genres – outside of my comfort zone. So, I have chosen the ‘read anything & everything’ route. This way, I hope to learn how to write better and also to understand what NOT to do. Reading more will, hopefully, help me to distinguish between the good, the bad and the ugly (note to self – enough with the clichés) and improve my own skills, such as they are.
With that in mind, I joined a group looking for beta readers and offered to read ‘anything and everything’, and I am pleased to say, it’s going really well. I have completed a couple of books already, and have a list of others to work through. Reading – with a more than critical eye – enables me to be more objective with these books, something that can be difficult to achieve with my own story. I am able to recognise both positive and negative points, which, in turn, I can then relate to my own writing. I have already recognised a few flaws that need to be ironed out with my story, and I’m hopeful that more reading will be equally as beneficial to me, as it is to those whose books I’m reading.
For once then, I am taking advice from those in the know – and this time, I will do as they suggest, because, you know what? Reading is fun too! You can see my progress on the page entitled ‘Beta Reading & Book Reviews’ on this blog.
So, what are you waiting for? – Go & read more …. NOW!