Thursday, July 28, 2011

Why I Read Outside the Genres I Write In

You hear it a lot- if you want to write for a particular genre, you should read up on books in that genre. So if you want to write supernatural romance, you're advised to read supernatural romance. If you wish to write about time travel, they tell you to read about how time travel is done elsewhere.  If you have an idea for a dystopian novel,  you're expected to check out other dystopian novels first. The reasoning behind  reading what you want to write is that you become familiar with the world and rules associated with  a particular genre.

While it doesn't hurt me to read books from my writing genre, I strongly believe that reading in only the genre I'm writing in would greatly limit me as a writer. Not to mention I like making my own rules.

Reading stuff outside my genre actually helps me to reflect  better on plot and character development because I get to take myself outside my reading comfort zone and drop myself off somewhere new where I might absorb details of the fictional surroundings more acutely than I would if I were in familiar territory.

Example: I write fantasy and suspense and happen to enjoy reading about certain teen wizards (no names!). But if all I read were books by  authors about teen wizards where many of the conflicts depict characters hurling magical chants and shooting wands at one another, I would miss out on learning how conflicts are handled in a story without magic. Reading a magic-free story about the new girl who uses her wit to take down the school's queen bee, I learn how the emotional arc evoked in a conflict-to-climax moment yields the same amount of tension and page-turning frenzy in both fantasy and non-fantasy writing. I also learn that it's not the chants or wand magic or the queen bee's secret fear of heights that determines the outcome of a conflict. The characters steer the conflict to its climax  and the story's outcome by their choices and their response to a challenge. The wand is just a prop.

My advice to anyone who wants to write in a particular genre is not to limit yourself by reading only in that particular genre.  You grow when you branch out.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fess Up Friday: I Want to be at Comic Con!

I love costumes. Love 'em! And it just pains me that I can't be at Comic Con to sport some funky outfit while mingling with other fans of the creative industries. I'd also hate to miss out on some of the panels presented by kidlit professionals, which I'm sure would be totally awesome. SIGH.....Maybe another year.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Borders is Shutting Down Remaining Stores

I just read in an article that Borders is closing the rest of its stores for good. I'm sad for the 400 stores that are going to be shut down and my heart goes out to the 11,000  people who will lose their jobs. There's not a whole lot more I can say about this other than that this is a huge and unfortunate loss for many people. =(

UPDATE (7/23/11):  Today I went to my local Borders  store to pick up some books during their liquidation sale. While I picked up some good reads, I was less pleased to see how unwanted books were treated as depicted in this snapshot I took:
Yes, I get people want to snatch up some bargain buys before Borders' doors close for good. But seeing books being dumped like this makes me feel kinda sad. Sad for the authors who wrote the books, sad for the people who have to clean this up, and sad for the way some people treat vessels of the written word.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fess Up Friday: I'm One of Those Harry Potter Fans

I dig Harry Potter and I don't care who knows it. I've attended several midnight book releases in costume. Yeah, I'm one of those people, and I say this with my head held high. 

And when a new Harry Potter movie comes out, I'm there. The only one I didn't get to see in the theater (but later caught on DVD) was HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE, and I have an acceptable excuse for missing it on the big screen: I gave birth around that time. 

While I'm looking forward to catching the final cinematic installment of the Harry Potter series, a part of me is sad it ends here. For now. Not only was it a pleasure to see a series of expertly crafted books translate so well onto the big screen, it was also sweet to watch the actors portraying the lead and supporting characters grow in their roles. J.K. Rowling is an inspiration to me in many different ways.

My husband and I plan to see the final movie this weekend. In honor of this momentous occasion, I'm posting the First. Picture. Of. Myself. Ever. on this blog. The image to the left is a snapshot of me taken years ago when I finally picked up HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS at a Borders midnight release party after waiting in a super duper long line that went around the entire store.