In his memoir On Writing, Stephen King writes about the impact that voracious (and observant) reading has on the quality and tone of our own work. He writes that we read to experience the highs and the lows, and to challenge ourselves to do better. Take King's advice and pair it with one of Chuck Palahniuk's tips on writing (write the book you want to read), and it becomes clear that you need to spend a good portion of your day buried in the fictional worlds that drive you to the keyboard each day. World-building is as much a facet of reading and adaptation as it is an aspect of original composition, I think.
I'm listening to Hearts in Atlantis on tape right now (on loan from a good friend of mine at the college; I bought a used Tacoma last year and was delighted to see it had a tape deck), and reading Tim Lebbon's Desolation and Elmore Leonard's Stick. The impact on my work? I'm putting in 1,000 words a day and it's Leonard's voice that I'm seeing most frequently in my own. My protagonist is speaking in fragments and he's one dangerous hombre. When you want your plot hard-boiled, you've got to look at Leonard's greatest hits. Stick with the early stuff and you'll find particularly fertile territory (I still need to read his most recent-writing well at 82!)...
So I'm curious. How much do you read and what impact does it have on your writing?
Today's blog is short. I need to speak with my mom and dad, as my Great-Grandmother Virginia Pezel passed away early this morning. She was a tremendous woman who was independent up until her mid-nineties.
Check back tomorrow for a discussion on speculative fiction.