October 15, 2013

Advice To Those Who Write

Honestly, I am going to be a little bit hypocritical here. I love to go and look up quotes about writing and read all of those lists of "how to write better". But I usually disagree with them.

See? I disagree again. :)

In fact, the other day I wrote about 500 words about why I disagreed with three of the things that show up on most lists. I won't post it here though, I think I was just in a bad mood, really, and I may have exaggerated quite a bit.

But anyway-- one thing that kept showing up was the "read more" idea that I have heard so many times that I'm sick of it. My first reaction is always: "when I'm working on a novel I do not want to read. Reading becomes a distraction; it keeps me from writing, and if I do write while reading a good book my writing style will inevitably begin to sound a little bit more like the book I'm reading and less like the one I'm writing."

Random website to get a picture of books from, but it's pretty cool.
But... at the moment I am not writing. I should be. I have Book One of a trilogy out and being read, and I know that pretty soon some of my readers will be demanding a sequel, and I'm going to need to give it to them. I should be starting on Book Two.

However, I am not. And therefore, I decided that this is a good time to read as much as I can. Get all the reading out of my system so that once I do start writing I can focus entirely on writing instead of being distracted by a ton of outside books.

So, in honor of that decision, I decided to compile a list of fifteen books that I want to read. Now-- maybe this is a dumb choice-- I'm not giving myself any kind of deadline. I don't want this to be a fifteen books I'll read in a week. That would be impossible. But these are books that I want to read eventually. The list will probably grow. I've already thought of some more I want to add.

So anyway, the list, in no particular order:

Books I want to Read:

1.       Game of Thrones (This one I've just heard popping up a lot, and people seem to like it. So I figured it would be smart of me to check it out, since I tend to like a lot of the popular trends, and I want to know what the fuss is about. Besides, I bet it will be made into a movie before too long.)
2.       100 AƱos de Soledad (I definitely want to read this one, in Spanish, because I love all the short stories I've read by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and I really need to read more books in Spanish. I've been slacking.)

3.       Ender’s Game (You have no idea how many people have told me to read this. I really need to read it. Oh, and the movie's coming out, and I obviously need to read the book before watching the movie. Or maybe soon after...)

4.       Brave New World (I don't really want to read this, but I do. I feel like it's one of those classics that I need to read sometime. I feel like I can't avoid it, so I may as well not even try. Maybe I'll end up loving it.)

5.       Wuthering Heights (I don't know why I want to read this one so badly, but I was really disappointed when I found out my English class will read it next semester, after I graduate. Gah. So I guess I just need to read it on my own.)

6.       The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (I don't know why I haven't read this yet. I'm ashamed of myself for not reading it.)


The Princess Bride (This two. This movie is my favorite movie in the world, so why  have I not read it? Sometimes I shock myself. I really don't have any excuse. I'm ashamed and embarrassed, but it will be read soon, I promise.)

8.       The Wind in the Willows (Another one of those titles I've heard a bunch, and I think it's one I should read. Isn't it also the favorite book of some character in some other book? I think so, or maybe I just made that up.)

9. The Two Towers (I read the Hobbit and barely scratched through the Fellowship, but I promise myself that someday I will read this and love it.)

10.   The Return of the King (Same reason as I said for the Two Towers.)

11.   Don Quixote (Again, a classic that I feel I must read. And when I do read it, I'm going to read it in Spanish. And it will probably take me ages to finish, but eventually I will. I hope. It's my plan, anyway. And I liked the excerpt I read for AP Spanish Lit. last year.)

12.   Any Isaac Asimov book (I have his quote on my dresser: "I write for the same reason I breathe, because if I don't, I die." It's so beautiful. This guy is my soul mate. Unless I hate his book or something, but I doubt it.)

13.   Any Isabel Allende book in Spanish (I read Paula by Isabel Allende in English and loved it, and then read La Casa De Los Espiritus in Spanish and liked it. So now I want to read another one in Spanish and hopefully love it.)

14.   The House on Mango Street (I've heard this title a lot. This is one I want to read less in comparison to some of the others, but it's still on the list. I think I read a chapter in some English class in middle school and really liked it, and I've been haunted by mango houses ever since.)

15.   The Screw Tape Letters (C. S. Lewis is my hero. I love all of his writings so much, and I am always itching to read more of his work. I've read three of his books so far, and I want this one to be my fourth.)


  1. This looks pretty similar to my own reading list xD Hmm I see where you're coming from that reading is a distraction. I think if it's a novel you have to some research about beforehand, read while doing the research. Read stuff that's close to your novel (about a terrorist attack? Then read about one) But nothing too close or you might just start copying it. I agree when you say don't read through writing though.

  2. Haja, there are just so many good books out there. But I figured I could narrow it down to fifteen and give myself a goal to follow.

    Yeah, research is smart, and easier to research at the beginning rather than after I've written four drafts of my story....

    And I'm sure some writers have no problem reading and writing. But for me it's something like driving drunk. :D