And I don’t mean add more books to it. Consider reading a different genre.
I learned a cool lesson the other night. I recently joined a local writing group…let me correct myself. I was finally invited to join by a friend.
I was concerned about presenting the opening scene of my new novel to the group…because it’s violent. Not overly so, for me…but I needed a better gauge of the group. I asked the host to describe the types of writing involved at the meetings, and he gave me a list. Person matched with genre.
Crime fiction- That was my friend’s work. I had already read a few chapters. Excellent.
Memoir-Huh? OK, I just read a book written by a Navy Seal…definitely memoir. Not the best book, but memoir. I know what memoir is…just being dramatic
More memoir-Oh boy. And both memoir writers are women. I’m still not too worried.
Poetic Memoir-Now I’m worried. I think I’ll definitely keep my book’s prologue on my own computer. Eight people are shot to death in the span of thirty seconds. Not very poetic. I have other chapters to share.
Literary Fiction – I was an English major. No worries here.
Young Adult Fiction – Actually, the host was wrong about the genre…it’s Middle Aged Fiction. My 10 year old son’s realm…Now I’m worried again.
I uploaded my chapter to the group’s share site, and downloaded all of their samples. I sat down late at night and started to dig into…memoir, memoir and more memoir? Had I ever really read memoir before? Not like this. I thoroughly enjoyed reading real memoir. There is something about the personal style of writing memoir that grabs me. I hope they submit more.
Same with Middle Aged and Literary Fiction. I read with my son all the time, but I don’t really dig into his books anymore. He reads silently while I read one of my books. I think I need to pick up a few of his books. Reading the sample passage brought back nice memories of a much less complicated time in my life. It was a nice break, but a lot of fun.
I read three or four good literary fiction novels each year. I’m pretty careful with these, basing my decision on critical recommendation. I can tell within two pages whether I made the right choice. I won’t read past that. I save a lot of money in Borders browsing these books for the right tone, description, and pace. Were it not for a technical problem, I would have read all forty pages submitted. As it stood, I read close to fifteen without hesitation. I look forward to reading more…from everyone.
It’s hard to read another genre, especially as a writer. I view everything through my own personal genre lens. My current work sits squarely in the thriller camp..ala Bourne Identity. But I have a feeling that I’m going to learn some subtle ways to imbue this story with cross genre techniques. Touches that will greatly enhance the work…or have silo-genre readers bitching. Either way, I’ll be happy to hear from them.
Sometimes I like the bitching more.