Sunday, February 1, 2009

Perhaps I've Been Wrong

While writing Book 2, I purposely didn't read certain fiction authors who I thought might influence my writing. I didn't miss them, necessarily. I was wrapped up in my own characters and their world, and it sufficed. I didn't do that with Conventional Demon. While I was writing that book, I read P.C. Cast, Jude Deveraux, Deborah Raleigh, and Laurell K. Hamilton. When I was editing it, I could tell the parts of the book that were written while I was reading Hamilton. I could see hints of her style creep into mine. Hence, my fear of reading her books while writing Book 2.

Perhaps I was wrong, though. As Francine Prose points out in Reading Like a Writer (see my bookcase for the cover), "I've also heard fellow writers say that they cannot read while working on a book of their own, for fear that Tolstoy or Shakespeare might influence them. I've always hoped they would influence me..."

What a great thought! (Okay, it would never be Tolstoy or Shakespeare for me, but you get the idea.) I'd been toying with the idea of trying to time reading a Karen Marie Moning while I work on the edits of Conventional Demon (again) because I feel her books are edited into masterpieces on so many levels--plot, character, pacing, setting, sentence structure, verbs, adverbs. Combine Prose's line of thought with a Janet Evanovich interview I recently read where she said (basically) that she watches only funny movies, reads only funny books, and surrounds herself with her most positive friends when she's in the middle of a Plum novel. She says it helps her keep her head in the right place.

I'll be trying this experiment over the next several months. It means I'll be reading a lot of Evanovich, MacAlister, and Harrison, watching a lot of comedies, and making Cody amuse me with lots and lots of funny antics. All in all, that sounds like a good recipe for life, not just editing a novel.

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