I remember after reading 20 Boy Summer and Fixing Delilah that I thought to myself – I wanna write a book like that.
And then I went on a John Green binge, even though I threw Looking for Alaska across the room when I reached THAT part. And I was like – I wanna write a book like Paper Towns (my fav John Green).
I read Harmonic Feedback and thought – GAH! I wanna write a book like that.
But I didn’t write any of those books.
They’re not me.
And do I think it’s important to stretch yourself?
Do I also think that by forcing myself to write something because I read a book I loved is going to do me any favors?
The minute I try to write something that doesn’t feel like ME, I lose a little something in my MS. On top of that, I start comparing myself to other authors.
Nothing kills creativity faster than comparison.
I think reading Ockler pushed me to stretch my language skills. The same with Laini Taylor, Jandy Nelson, and Maggie Steifvater. (I have a friend who I KNOW is rolling her eyes at me right now)
I look at Andrew Smith and think – WOW. And Christa Desir where I HAVE to keep reading even though I’m terrified to.
I learn from reading. SO much. I push myself because of the amazing books I read. I learn by beta reading for other people in all sorts of ways – in so many ways that I’m pretty sure I could write a whole post on that. I learn from my odd addiction to Lit Reactor.
But the moment I try to “re-create” a version of what someone else did, I put myself in a very dangerous place.
At the same time, I agree with Steifvater in that as writers we are theives. We steal things around us ALL THE TIME to use in our books.
I guess it’s a matter of finding balance.
Use what you learn, but make it ALL YOURS. I did this with Stronger Than You Know, using a book I read and loved as a jumping off place for my idea, but Joy is all MINE.
Also. I’m quite certain (again) that one of you will say what I’m trying to fumble through in a much clearer and more concise way in the comments 😉
Are there books out there you read and wished you’d written?
Authors you totally look up to because of their mad skillz?
P.S. If you’re still waiting on the ebook of Stronger Than You Know, we might start a club soon 😉 I’ve been told before October 1.