Tuesday, June 5, 2012

28 Day Blogging Challenge: How Reading Influences My Writing

How do the things you read impact your writing? What do you love to read? What do you avoid reading at all costs? How would your writing change if you read more of the things you typically avoid?

This dovetails nicely with yesterday's post about favorite authors. 

 And, since I talked your ear off the past few days, I'll try to make this one kind of brief. 

I really have pretty well-defined tastes, and sometimes I have a hard time straying from them.  I'm trying to branch out a bit more, but I'm also uneasy to try new things in case they suck.  I'm also sad to note that many of my favorite kinds of books are supposedly "dead genres."  This makes me sad not only as a writer but as a reader; if people stop publishing the books I like, then what am I supposed to read? 

Anyway, here's what I like: 
  • Horror novels.  I prefer supernatural horror, but killers and stuff are cool too.  
  • Urban fantasy.  I like the grittiness and the "real people interact with the fantastic"ness
  • Portal fantasy.  That's not a real genre.  But it's my favorite!  Stories about real people in fantastic situations are my favoritest thing.
  • Soft sci-fi.  I like dystopias and post-apocalyptic what-if stories.  I'm not as big on space opera stuff, but in a post-Firefly world I'm willing to give them a second chance.  
  • Animal novels.  These are actually kind of my favorite thing but nobody ever writes them :(
  • Fucked-up contemporary novels.  I like contemporaries about irreparably damaged people, dysfunctional families, etc.  
  • Anything that knocks my socks off.  If I get a recommendation, I'll usually read it.  Sometimes I'm pleasantly surprised, and that's my favorite. 
And here's what I don't read:
  • Romances.  Unless they're Victorian literature, I can safely say I have never (and probably will never) read romances.  Just....not my thing.  
  • Mysteries.  I went through a stage as a kid where I really liked mysteries, but then I sort of "grew out of" it or something.  I don't know.  They just lost their novelty for me.  
  • Westerns.  Do people even write westerns anymore?  
  • Historical fiction.  I probably should read more historical fiction, but somehow I have it in my head that all historical novels are romance novels, which ruins it for me. 
  • Beach reads.  Women's fiction.  Chick-lit.  Any of those concepts.  Bleh.  
Not that there's anything wrong with those genres.  But I like what I like (dark themes, fatally-flawed characters, imaginative premises) and I think that's definitely reflected in my writing, too.  Although I never really considered myself a horror writer, I think more horror sensibilities have crept into my writing than I realized, and I'm a-ok with that.  
Have any stellar recommendations in any of these categories (even the "never, ever read" ones)?  Hook me up!  I'm notoriously slow about reading new books, but I do love to be surprised by good ones. 


  1. The exact opposite to my reading choices, love it!

    1. Hah, that's funny :) Different strokes, eh?

    2. I'm with Nikki. I read fantasy, sci-fi and romance, and that's pretty much it, and I don't touch horror with a ten foot pole. It's crazy how different all our particular reading tastes are! :D

  2. If portal fantasy isn't a real genre then it should be :-) I loved your response to this challenge