Wednesday, October 2, 2019

IWSG - Reading Is Fundamental

So it's October. Can you believe we are so close to the end of the year? Man, it's been a long one. But we're back with a new month, and a new IWSG post.

There's a lot going on, the same old insecurities and worries are hanging around. I have a new release next week so there's the added stresses that come along with that. I tried to think of what I wanted to post about and in the end, I just couldn't narrow it down so going to keep it simple.

October 2 question - It's been said that the benefits of becoming a writer who does not read is that all your ideas are new and original. Everything you do is an extension of yourself, instead of a mixture of you and another author. On the other hand, how can you expect other people to want your writing, if you don't enjoy reading? What are your thoughts?

***I'm in the camp that you need to read in the genre you're writing. Each genre has it's own set of reader expectations, a set of guidelines your story needs to operate within to fit its label. A mystery must be solved at the end, a suspense needs to have the 'bad guy' caught, and a romance must have a HEA or HFN (happily ever after or happily for now) ending.

If you don't read in the genre you're writing, and thinking you are going to reinvent the wheel to be edgy and new, you are setting out to cheat readers of the expectations they have. Speaking as a romance writer, I see this sort of thinking surrounding my chosen genre a lot. People want to be revolutionary in questioning why a genre romance needs to HAVE the HEA or HFN ending. They want to tout it as being 'boring' or 'predictable' and not 'real life' and other such excuses.

When you read in the genre you want to write, especially if you're new to it, it's the best research you could have. There are countless authors who spin the basic ideas into something new and magical. How I handle a trope like friends-to-lovers will be vastly different from how my friend Amelia Foster might handle it. We both have varying writing styles, but we both know that the readers are expecting certain things out of the story. Ignoring what's out there with the thought you will be different is in a way thumbing your nose up at your audience.

And within a genre are various sub-genres. I'm a contemporary writer, but if I ever decided to branch out into say PNR (paranormal romance) I'd have to take up reading those books so I'd understand that while the romance aspect is generally the same, I know nearly nothing on the paranormal side. Research.

Reading what's out there teaches you what your audience is looking for. It's a way to respect their expectations and the money you hope they will spend on your story. Your author voice is yours and yours alone. How you weave the tale will be different from the stories you're reading and enjoying. And you'll learn things about yourself in the process. I'm terrible with making my words poetic. I'm a pretty linear thinker so my writing is the same. I have to work harder at finding ways to make things prettier as it were. Reading and taking in how others do it helps me get to that next level of digging deeper to pull out the emotion. Not full on purple prose, but some where in the middle that fits my voice.

That's it for this month. Reading is fundamental and it helps you be a better writer.

Until next time

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group is a home for writers in all stages; from unpublished to bestsellers. Our goal is to offer assistance and guidance. We want to help writers overcome their insecurities, and by offering encouragement we are creating a community of support.

The awesome co-hosts for the October 2nd posting of the IWSG are Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Mary Aalgaard, Madeline Mora-Summonte, and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor!


  1. Cheating reader expectations - now that is an excellent point!

  2. It's definitely important to know about the genre you're writing in! Plus I always find reading inspires me to work on my own writing.

    1. Agreed! You can't just jump into something without at least knowing the basics. Reading does add inspiration and you can pick up on things you'd like to do better, or sometimes what you'd like to avoid.

      thanks for stopping by

  3. I agree with you. Reading the genre you want to write in, especially when you're new to it, is important. Especially if as writers we want to do right by not only our stories. But also do right by readers.

    1. Yes! So very important. There is an unspoken contract between writer and reader. We tell the stories we want to tell, but at the same time we need to make sure we're delivering on reader expectations.

      thanks for stopping by