I could pretty much read mysteries and thrillers all the time but I know reading widely and outside my genre will help me become a better reader and writer. This past month, despite cramming in a lot of writing, I managed to read a couple books worth mentioning.
I think writing and writers can come in all shapes, sizes, genres, and varieties. I don’t think there is any one book or workshop or group that is going to magically help you become a better writer. I do believe two things about writing. First, it is a craft and needs to be practiced. Second, to be a writer, you need to have a love of reading.
A friend who is an avid reader recently told me she was disillusioned with the triller genre. As an action/thriller writer this made me a bit sad but with further reflection, I’m not sure she meant exactly what she said. I don’t think she was disillusioned so much as disappointed.
I think she actually liked psychological suspense or literary suspense and was approaching thrillers with the same expectations. That’s one way to walk away disappointed in a book.
Writing is much like any other craft. It’s not exactly hard to do though it is hard to do well. Writing a book isn’t necessarily hard it just takes time. String enough dedicated, persistence days spent on anything, a book or a painting or training for a marathon and you will reach your goal.
Last year, on a whim at the library, I picked up one of John Sandford’s Virgil Flowers books. I’d read a lot of Prey books but hadn’t read any from his other series. I’m glad I did. I loved them and quickly blew through five more in a race to catch up. They’re great.
But I also started to wonder what I else I might be missing out on.
Final tally, or close to it, I might squeeze in another book or two, for books read in 2018: 82. I read a lot of commercial thrillers this year, even for me, as I wanted to really try to dig in and look at the mechanics of the genre for my own writing.
This was also the year I took a break from podcasts and tried more audiobooks, mostly while I walked Dash. I ended up listening to 21 books on audio, which accounts for the jump in total books read. I’m usually around 60 or so, about a book a week on average.