Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Writing Wednesday: Reading for Pleasure

One easy trap for writers to fall into is to forget why they started writing in the first place. This has happened to me a couple of times. The first time was when I was in my junior year in college, I was taking a lot of lit classes and a couple writing classes and I started to dread reading and writing. I didn’t pick up a book I didn’t have to for a few years after that.

Recently, I fell into this same pattern. When picking out books to read I didn’t think about if it was a plot I would like but if it was a style I could learn from. I started examining the style of writing more than just enjoying the novel.

Basically I forgot why I wanted to be a writer.

I became a writer because I love reading books. I love getting caught up in another world, imagining I am somewhere else, and living a different life. In other words enjoying experience the author has created.

When I started writing I wanted to create an experience of my own that I would enjoy and hopefully others would too. But recently I’ve been too bogged down in the details to enjoy the books I read.

So I picked up a book that I loved when I was a kid, one that I knew I couldn’t examine the style as its style would be laughed at today. I reread “The Mysterious Island” by one of the first, and in my opinion one of the best, Science Fiction writers ever Jules Verne.

With Jules Verne writings there is a fantastic sense of the wonder of science, even if that science is dated, that fills every page. The overwhelming feeling of, that with a combination of intelligence and hard work humans can do anything. Added to that the imagery that he puts on the paper makes it easy to get totally absorbed in his writing and ignore the style, which is totally contradictory to the style that modern novels have.

It is the powerful unspoken message, or Donnee, and great imagery that makes Verne’s books classic.

As far Verne being published today he would be laughed at. The POV shifts unexpectedly and constantly, rather than being the invisible narrator he stops and asks the reader questions, he puts in huge info-dumps, ect. But his books are still great to read.

So to all writers that read this blog I want to give you this one piece of advice. Remember to take time out to read for pleasure not to analyze the writing.

I’d also like to ask a question, what books do you enjoy that have a writing style that would never be published in today’s market?

By Darrell B. Nelson author of Alien Thoughts

1 comment:

Stephanie Barr said...

I completely agree. Nothing gets me out of a writing slump like reading for pleasure.

I have no idea what wouldn't get published. Perhaps my beloved Georgette Heyer novels (humorous and playful historical romances with no sex, gasp!), but then they keep republishing them even though she's been dead since 1974.

Good stuff is always good.