Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Do you or don't you?

Okay... so my post titles are getting more and more original. NOT!

Basically I'm having a slump week. Don't know if it's because I've got to the stage where I can no longer NTAI my full sub without starting to feel depressed - thinking that its codswallop and there's no way they'll even ask me for revisions never mind buy - or PMT!!! Either way, it's not good for my writing.

There is one other reason - it could be the book I'm reading, which I'm enjoying but is one of those books about women in their mid-thirties looking at their life and not really being happy with what they see. It's not how the heroine imagined her life would be when she was fresh-faced and twenty. I'm pretty happy with my life - I have a loving hubby, three gorgeous sons, a part time job I like, a hobby I adore and the best friends a girl could hope for - but do books put ideas into our heads? Sometimes I wonder.

Anyway what I really wanted to know is do you read in your genre while you are in the writing stages of a book? I'm mostly targeting Mills & Boon Modern Heat and I try to read all the books that come out in this line (I'm very behind but I try). I've always read them at the same time I'm writing my own MH but I'm wondering if this is the right thing to do, or do I get swayed?

Would love to hear your thoughts on reading within your genre while writing!!


Cat Schield said...

I read in the genre I'm writing, but with 6 titles a month, I have a hard time keeping up. Mostly I read the debuts to see what they're buying then I read my favs. But I love to branch out too. Thrillers, YA, historical romance. I think it's important to read the best writers out there.

Good luck with the sub. It seems as if M&B editors are way more willing to develop an author than NY. And you've already caught their interest. You're halfway home.

Janette Radevski said...

I go through phases Rach - sometimes it's all about the category stuff, then ST every now and then. Right now I'm hooked on category, Modern's, MH and Blaze with some Romance chucked into the mix...

Angie Peters said...

Rach, I've been reading the Modern Heat new releases while writing my WIP. There are advantages and disadvantages with doing this, I think. Yes, we need to stay current and see what is being published. Yes, we need to read as much as possible which helps us improve as writers.

But, for me, I've noticed that my own words dry up as I'm reading an author's fantastic MH because the internal critic gets louder - "See? You'll never be able to write something as good as this. Why bother?" However, reading also keeps me fresh and keeps the ideas flowing.

I suppose everyone's different. I've heard of author's who don't read in their subgenre while they're writing their book, and I've heard of others who do. At the end of the day, we each have to do what works for ourselves.

Cathryn Brunet said...

I read in the genre before I start and then avoid it while I'm writing in the hope it stops me inadvertently nicking stuff!

As for whether books can put ideas into your head, they sure can. I had a girlfriend blame romance novels for the state of her relationship. She reckons they give you unrealistic expectations!

Suzanne Brandyn said...

Do not compare your work with others. It's been said over and over again, Rach. I'll give you a shake when I see you. lol

My advice is not to read while you are writing. Read inbetween wips. Why.
Okay so you do ten pages for the day and grab a novel. I don't think its a good way to go.

I found reading interfered with the flow of my own voice. Just get the wip finished then read.

Of course this is my opinion only, and it works for me.

Hang in there.

Suz :)

Lacey Devlin said...

I read whatever I can get my hands on ;) cereal boxes are fine if there's nothing else...

Actually I read almost every line of Harlequin so that started a crisis where I couldn't work out which line I was supposed to be writing for (I got there in the end).

Feel good about your full sub because it's pretty darn awesome having been written by you. How could they not love it? x

Aideen said...

I like this post because it's something I've often thought about myself. I'll read pretty much anything that has been written well. I know that doesn't narrow it down but let me just say that I'm always pulled back to romance. Real life is hard, things don't always go to plan and despite being very happy with my life, I never once imagined all those years ago that I'd be married with four sons at the grand old age of 33. Ok, now I'm just rambling.

Anyway, with regards to reading while writing, yes I read while I'm writing and this has brought me close to tears a couple of times. I'm a MH reader because I love that line and because I aspire to write for it. But you know those days, when you can't seem to write anything half decent and you pick up the new Nat Anderson and devour it whole? Then you turn back to your screen to see the sad attempt you've just made? I've cried, not big drama style but I've felt the frustration that comes with realising I can't write like someone else. Just like in life I can't be someone else. It sucks until I remember that I have a unique voice, that maybe some day I'll bring joy to others with that same voice. Maybe I won't, but it's a lot of fun trying, especially when the words come out right and I get to type the end.

As aspiring writers we need to remember that we bring 'our take' to the table. This is enough to keep me going on the days when I feel like all I'm really writing is crap. Cos at the end of the day, nothing is ever as bad as it seems.

Editors don't encourage us unless they see our potential. It's up to us to share in their views.

As for NTAI, how's that working out for you? LOL!!


Jackie Ashenden said...

Interesting question, Rach! I read all the MHs that come out. And then sometimes some Modern. But then I'll need a break and read some SF or fantasy. Reading the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo at the moment, in between helpings of MH!
But when I'm writing, a really good MH can actually inspire me. I'll be reading and thinking 'wow this is so good' and then I have to down the book and whip off the PC and start writing! When I'm down about the writing of course, then I don't want to read any romance at all. :-)

BTW, you're right Aideen. We are all unique. There's room for everyone.

Rachael Johns said...

Hi Cat - I like reading across genres too but just wish I had MORE time. LOL. You're right about the M&B eds. I've had lovely long R letters from the US office but know lots of people actively working with an ed in the UK.

I'm a phase girl too Janette. At the moment I'm in a ST mood.

Angie - I totally get what you're saying. Whenever i read a fabulous MH, I feel inferior and JEALOUS, which is why I LOVED Aideen's reminder (in further comments) that we ALL bring our own unique take to the publishing world!

Rachael Johns said...

Cathryn - what you do is what I PLAN to do but always seem to fail dismally at. I think your gf has a point to an extent but its not gonna stop me reading OR writing romance!

Thanks for the shake Suz and the lovely email :)

Aw Lacey thanks! And can I just say I'm dying to read your books - they must be HIL-AR-I-OUS!!!

Rachael Johns said...

Aideen - thanks so much for your words of wisdom. They were EXACTLY what I needed to hear today. And as for the NTAI... FIVE WEEKS today exactly! No not thinking about it at all *grin*!!

Jackie - I've been meaning to read those 'Girl with...' books for AGES. Do tell us all about them!

Aideen said...

Mortified when I read my post again. I wasn't rambling intentionally, I did mean to make a point at the end of my first part.

That point was that when you're home all day with four demanding kids, life can be rushed and crazy and sometimes a 'tad' difficult, hence my pull towards romance. When I want an escape from it all while at the same time enjoying some first class writing, reading romance works for me every time. But I do tend to steer clear of it if I'm happy enough with my own writing. When I hit a wall in the wip I pick up the nearest Mod Heat to see how the pro's do it.

Lacey Devlin said...

Thanks Rach!

Don't be mortified Aideen, no rambling noticed! But wow to four boys, I hope they're not all under five!

Sally Clements said...

I'm targeting MH too. I read all MH's and also am reading moderns a bit at the moment, its interesting to see the difference. I'm also reading crime (because I love it) and don't think it gets in the way of my writing. I'm focusing on dialogue cues (doing a Margie Lawson course at the mo) and seeing what writers use them to good effect is an eye opener. Trying to get my new book finished so I can sub, so you're ahead of me there! Hope they don't keep you waiting too long!

Rachael Johns said...

Aideen - please don't be mortified - I LOVED your post!

And I agree with Lacey WOW to four boys. I have three and that's a handful!

Sally - Margie's wonderful isn't she? I haven't done an online course but heard her speak in Sydney. Would love to do a course!