Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Reading What You Love, Writing What You Love

Today is a big release day in the Romance world. I woke up to THREE new books on my Kindle (woot!) by three spectacular writers: Stephanie Laurens (new Cynster novel!), Robyn Carr (new series!) and Jennifer McQuiston (new author! - OK, I may have already read that one back in February, in paperback, but it auto-downloaded to my Kindle today. Whatever - I loved it that much, I'm totally keeping it).

If you love what you write, it shows. I can read a book very quickly - I read at least one, but usually 5 or 6 books per week. I can finish a mass-market romance novel in about 3 hours; 2 hours if it's one I've read before (I know exactly where to skip and, because dialogue is my favorite part, zoom right in on the quotation marks). I re-read almost ALL my romance novels, and during most weeks, at least half of my books are re-reads.

When a favorite author comes out with a new book, I get really excited. I love the characters and the writing styles different people create; but I think what has me most excited is the knowledge that by the end of the day, no matter what stresses it brings, I'll be able to sit back, sigh a happy sigh, and grin from ear to ear. 

People ask me all the time if, in reading romance novels, it influences my stories. The truth is simple: The stories within the novels do not influence my own, but the writing certainly does. I've seen many books with terrible grammar, fragmented sentences that chop the story instead of enhance it, and the use of the same word repeatedly. These things are what help me to be a better writer - I'm pretty critical of what I read, and if I'm pulled out a story due to things that can be fixed with editing or author awareness, then I have a hard time enjoying the story. (Oddly enough, the occasional spelling error doesn't bother me as much - it doesn't typically pull me from a story, but instead reminds me that a real person wrote it, and an editor enjoyed it so much that her (or his) eyes flew over that mistake in order to get to the next word.)

That is what influences my writing - but not my plot lines, characters, dialogues or settings.

It would be amazing to see my own writing in print. It would be exhilarating to have people want to read more of my writing. But - and I've said this before, I know, but it bears repeating - the absolute best part about being published would be providing someone, somewhere, the ability to sit back, sigh a happy sigh, and grin.

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