Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What I Need to Write

We're talking about "writing touchstones" this month in the Underground, and you've already seen that different writers need different things in order to stir their creativity:  Helen Lowe needs to write freely and loosely in longhand, Amanda Arista uses visual images, while Jocelyn Drake and Pamela Palmer use music to put them into a writing frame of mind.

What I need to write is pretty simple; I need to READ.  There is nothing I love more than a great story, well-told.  Reading has taught me so much about writing.  It's taught me what works in a story and what doesn't, from simple things like the fact that if I, as a reader, don't care about the characters, then I'm not going to care for the story, and more complex things like pacing, plot development, conflict and resolution.

I've been an avid reader since grade school, and I have never, ever stopped.  I read while I'm on the treadmill.  I read while I eat my lunch.  I read while I'm on a plane.  I read while I'm at the beach, or in a waiting room, or at the hair salon.  I read, read, read, and then I take the lessons I've learned from that reading and I try to craft a few great stories, well-told, of my very own, for others to enjoy.  Basically, if I'm not writing, gardening, exercising or sleeping, I'm reading!

In the last three weeks, I've read nine books.  I loved five of them, thought two were okay, and considered one of them a waste of my time.  The point is, I learned something from each and every one of them, including how NOT to write.  :)  The book I'm reading right is absolutely wonderful, GRAVE MERCY by Robin LaFevers.  It's a medieval paranormal about a young girl trained as an assassin in the convent of St. Mortain, God of Death.  I picked it up on a whim, and am happy to find that it's the first in a trilogy - I do not know Ms. LaFevers, but the woman knows how to deliver a great story, well-told!

So basically, what I need to write is inspiration, which I find in great stories that goad me into becoming a better writer.  And speaking of great stories, what was the last one you read that really wowed you?  Go ahead, give me some reading suggestions... I'm always looking for a few more great stories, well-told!


Stephanie Fredrick said...

I recently finished two series that I really enjoyed. First is the Vampire Empire series by Clay and Susan Griffith and the other was the Quantum Gravity series by Justina Robson. Hope those help :)

Terri Garey said...

Thank you, Stephanie! I'll check them out right away! (Isn't the age of Amazon wonderful?)

Helen Lowe said...

I enjoyed Laini Taylor's 'Daughter Of Smoke and Bone' (plus follow up)

The 'Night Circus' was lyrical and just finished Neil Gaiman's "Ocean At The End Of the lane'

Terri Garey said...

Oh, I loved "Daughter of Smoke and Bone", Helen! Great concept, great writing, although I didn't care for the follow-up novel quite as much.

While I enjoyed "Night Circus", I didn't think it lived up to all the "hype". :)

Haven't read Ocean at the End of the Lane yet, although Gaiman's "Graveyard Book" is one of my favorites!

Thanks for the suggestions!

Kim Falconer said...

Terri, I agree, Daughter of Smoke and Bone was fantastic and book two so raw and full of despair and . . . self loathing, I didn't enjoy it. But the writing's terrific and I will read the 3rd.

Have you read Maggie Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races? A truly magnificent book, with so much heart. Especially wonderful if you've ever had anything to do with horses.

I enjoyed Grave Mercy too!

Terri Garey said...

I've seen The Scorpio Races before, and don't know why I haven't tried it! Definitely putting it on my list. Thanks, Kim!

I'm now reading Dark Triumph, which is book #2 of LaFever's series, and it is just as good as the first!