Reading and it’s effect on Writing.

Going from the title, you might be fooled into thinking that I am going to regale you with a scholarly essay.

You’re in luck though…there’s a reason that I hated English A Level…

Actually, I just finished reading “Lies Sleeping” by Ben Aaronovitch.

It was one of my christmas presents and all the way through I enjoyed the experience.  I always do. Mostly because it’s like Ben Aaronovitch seems to have read all the same books as me – I’m forever catching the literary version of what film buffs like to call Easter Eggs – and we appear to have the same sense of humour.  Which probably explains all the Pratchett references…

However, this time round I finished the book and found myself thinking two things;

1) I wish I could write something that good.

2) I now see the reason that Sir Terry Pratchett and various other big authors have said “When you’re writing, you shouldn’t read in the genre you’re writing in.”

The first thought, is what I always think when I read one of my favourite authors. Doesn’t matter if it’s STP, King, Tolkien, Carriger, Howey, Eddings, Reichs, Slaughter… I always feel in awe of the story I’ve just read and the author whose imagination it came out of.

The second one requires a bit more explanation though.

Thinking about all the books I have read over the years, I’ve read a startling breadth of stories and authors. I started with Enid Blyton, Lewis Carroll and CS Lewis, passed through Tolkien, Eddings, Bradbury, Clarke, Herbert, Anthony, McCaffrey,  Michener, Le Guin, Anthony… you get the idea.
I took in Stephen King, James Herbert, Dean Koontz and various other horror writers. I spent some time in Romance Land (yes, even Mills & Boon) and although I don’t remember any of the authors (other than the Grande Dame of that realm, Barbara Cartland) they all delighted me while I read them.

They’ve all had an effect on my writing, even if I don’t know it. I adore STP, but I can’t deliberately write Comedic Fantasy. I’ve been told that there’s a certain humour to my fantasy though, so something must have rubbed off on me.

The problem is, when you read exclusively in one genre, you don’t just pick up small touches of each author’s voice; you start sounding like them enough that it could be considered plagiarism.  I had a brush with that when I was at Uni –  I helped TOH with his written coursework for the course we were doing together,  and I’d changed his personal “voice” enough that it sounded like he’d copied my work!

That time, he was accused of plagiarising me… and I really don’t want to have my work sound so much like my favourite authors that I get sued for plagiarism! Hence why I thought the second thought…

So what’s the fix? I have to read in my favourite genre to keep up with my favourite authors or any trends, but I don’t want to sound like them. Any ideas?

I’m lost for words…

… which believe me is a little unusual for an author!

Just recently I have been feeling more than a little lost. My writing has been slow and getting words onto a page has been like pulling teeth. It’s the reason I haven’t posted anything here for a while; every word I can muster has been put into a WIP.

Then this morning, I woke up to some wonderful news.

The beautiful and talented Maria K.  has been steadily putting her books into Audiobook form, and has quite a catalogue building up.

I’ve thought about putting my books into audiobook form, but as I’m struggling just to get my books finished, edited and published in e-book, I’ve been putting it off as I only want to focus on one project at a time.

So when Maria asked me if I was okay with her putting the Land Far Away books out in audiobook form, I knew that it was a sign that I should dip my toe into the Audio Sea…

I didn’t expect it to happen very quickly, so I kept the news quiet…

But this morning I woke up to a wonderfully sweet surprise!

 

Maria had already been working on getting the Land Far Away books into audio; she engaged the services of Trista Shaye to narrate the books  and this morning,  I woke up to something that cheered me up immensely!

I was feeling yucky (I’m currently fighting some kind of virus) and tired and generally depressed about my lack of usefulness. I slipped into Facebook to see what my friends from the rest of the world had been getting up to…

The first Land Far Away book had appeared in Audio!

Ahkoo is actually the second book in the series (don’t question it – Audible has its own timetable by the looks of it) and is the one that my oldest son inspired – the main character was his creation. Trista has a smooth, calm voice and manages the strange words that I made up with aplomb – she brings out the characters personalities perfectly!

I just wish there was a way of combining Maria’s gorgeous pictures with the Audio too… maybe that’s a project for another day.

Now I feel so much better – I suppose I ought to get on with some author things, you know, writing, editing etc…

But I’ll leave you with the blurb:

While all respectable fligaphluphs make a point to stay away from the enticing lair of the terrible and powerful Snafflewich,

Ahkoo is determined to do the opposite and pay her a visit.

An adventurous and irrepressibly curious Fligaphluph, Ahkoo’s parents have trouble getting him to go to bed at sunrise when all the other Fligaphluphs do. So his Granddad tells him about the Snafflewich, hoping to make him stay in bed when the sun is in the sky.

Unfortunately, this has the opposite effect and off goes Ahkoo to discover what the Snafflewich really is like…

All the links to Ahkoo in all his glorious forms you can ever need can be found here

I hope you enjoy listening!