It is so crucially important, as a writer, that one reads material almost continually. I was on a social media forum a few months back where a writer boasted that they had never read a book in their life! Their view was that in reading any other material, they would be influencing their own style and their work would not be pure.
Well, what utter balderdash!
When artists learn how to paint, they study the masters to understand how techniques work.
When musicians start to compose, they will have over a hundred years of previous melodies bouncing around in their head to inspire and guide them.
Writing is exactly the same. If you do not read, you cannot write in a satisfying or indeed satisfactory manner. What is crucial, though, is that you do not stick to reading just one genre. When I was a teenager, I grew up on a diet of King, Straub and Rice. Needless to say, my earliest works emulated them. My stories were effectively fan fiction, which is a great place to start, but rapidly becomes tedious if you progress no further. Tedious for the reader and the author. It wasn’t until some years later, when I picked up detective novels and other types of genre, that I really started to develop my own style. I was able to sit down with the smorgasbord of literature and pick and choose elements which I enjoyed working with and tasted delicious as I scribbled away with them.
So, if you are a fan of horror, go away and read some romance. If you stick resolutely to historical fiction, dive into some sci-fi. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll take away from these other styles of writing.
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