The most consistent advice you hear to writers is read. So I’m trying to catch up on good fiction authors, whose language and writing style can permeate mine. This week I started The Falls by Joyce Carol Oates. I’ve heard of her forever. Should I be embarrassed (as a blossoming author) that I’ve never read anything by her?
The writers with the best run-of-the-mill success are genre writers: romance, mystery, suspense/thriller, fantasy/science fiction categories. Their books are fast, easy, a nice escape without much challenge. I have great respect for the imagination and craftmanship of these authors.
But (naturally), I’m reaching beyond the genre formulas, striving to be a little more complex, a little more character-driven. I love a mystery or a thriller that turns out to be a grand morality play. Like the best of John LeCarre (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy). Or Graham Greene (The Third Man).
So, August: reading. And I continue to outline novel #2, though I am easily distracted into marketing activities for novel #1. Yesterday morning I fell down the rabbit hole of Google Book Search — reformatting and uploading yet another PDF of P&P so that I can activate a “Preview this book” button in Goodreads and on my website. Why? Because other authors have it, I want one too.
We’re having a warm spell, so yesterday Jim and I took a lazy 3-hr float in a kayak down the Irondequoit Creek to the Bay. In the middle of the float, I got a phone message from a dealer who was interested in closing a deal on some items in a list we’d sent him. It reminded me how much easier it is to sell stuff out of our closets as opposed to wrenched out of my soul.