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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Why You Read What You Read

Yesterday, when I posted about Summer Reads 2011, I realized that most of my picks were in the YA/Fantasy realm. I've been slowly sucked into that genre since Harry Potter and Lyra Belacqua hit the scene. Now it's what I look for especially since it's what I'm writing (now.)

Having said that, I love all genres, even the literary 'non' genre. There's nothing I won't read, but I do go through phases. When Bryce Daniels posted on my blog yesterday that he was looking forward to the new Jeffrey Deaver book, it brought me back to when I would devour those books. I had a serious crime/thriller bent in my late twenties. I've also been into golden age mysteries, romance novels, classics and graphic novels. 

It's not that I don't like those things now, it's just not where I'm at. I bought a romance recently by an author who I really liked, Elizabeth Hoyt. It has gathered dust in my TBR pile while other books get whipped through. I pick it up, I put it down. My reading moods seem to last for years. It's a funny thing.

At the Pennwriters conference agents couldn't say enough about the need to be knowledgeable about your genre - specifically reading in your genre. I think it was Kathleen Ortiz that had the rule '2000 in 2000 out', meaning that for every 2000 words you write, you should be reading that much of your genre. Barbara Poelle went a little further, telling us to find the shelf at the bookstore where our book would be. Go alphabetically in the genre and find where your yet-to-be-published book would be. Then buy (or get out of the library) the two books on either side of the shelf. Educate yourself.

So, do you read in your genre? Do you cheat on the genre you write in? Do you mix it up or go through phases like I do? What genre are you reading and why?

7 comments:

  1. I do the same thing. When I was writing YA most of my reading was in that genre. Now that I'm writing adult stuff, maybe one out of ten novels is still a YA. I write post-apocalyptic fantasy and so a large portion of the books I read are dystopian, but I also love historical novels, and I think it shows in my writing. People tell me my novel feels like an historical even though it is set hundreds of years in the future. Could be I did that on purpose. :P

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  2. I hadn't really thought of it in that way-2000 in, 2000 out-but to me it makes perfect sense. You have to read to know what's current and selling and all that, but also to know what's been done before and what the standard conventions are going to be (aka, what your readers will be expecting when they pick up your book). Thanks for sharing this bit of info!

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  3. I usually read what I write, but sometimes I'll stray away for a book or two.

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  4. Hard to get me away from my thrillers. I might skirt the lines a bit with mysteries and suspense novels, but that's about it.
    Course, I am into "movies for guys who like movies."
    That was an interesting exercise you brought up, the one that Barbara Poelle had suggested. I think that might be fun, AND rewarding.

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  5. I've been passionate about fantasy ever since I read LOTR back in high school, though I occasionally supplement it with sci fi or historical fiction. I also love to read collections of myths and legends (particularly Celtic) as well as the classics.

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  6. I am a diehard contemporary YA fan (with some historical and fantasy mixed in), but I used to be really into mysteries (Mary Higgins Clark) and now I'm not interested in them at all. Weird. :/

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