Posts Tagged ‘caffeine’

Caffeine and Personal Inspiration

Note:  The two are not necessarily linked, but I find that I do most things better with a cup of coffee in my hand.

David Eddings, a personal favorite author of mine, once wrote that he never read anything in the fantasy field, because he did not want to corrupt his writing.  He felt that by reading other people’s work, he would find their ideas, style, and whatnot creeping into his own.

After 20 years of reading his books, I’ve decided he’s completely wrong.  Well, about the not reading other books in the genre, not about that blatant thievery.

The issue that Mister Eddings encountered, as far as I’m concerned, is that as he got older, his books got steadily more predictable, more stale, and ultimately did not remain worth reading.  His last series, ‘The Dreamers’ was so dreadfully boring that after investing dozens of hours in the first three and a half books, I could not bring myself to finish the last 150 pages of the concluding novel.

There is no such thing as a truly original story.  It’s not possible.  All stories must have some attachment to something recognizable to the audience or they will have no value at all.  And, while certainly I don’t endorse plagiarism, there is something to be said about reading something and thinking, ‘hey, I like what this author did here.’  If it ends up in your writing, great. If not, great.  But at least you’re not letting your own ideas stagnate in the pool of your own limited imagination.

I recommend taking notes while you read, either mentally or on a notepad.  Keep track of the things you like about your favorite authors, and also the things that set you on edge.  Chances are, you’re not the only one who feels that way.  And, while you are writing for yourself, writing a novel means you’re trying to reach an audience, also.  So try writing things that you would want to read.

And, if, bychance, in the middle  of writing your novel, you get stuck, it doesn’t hurt to think about how another author or two might have moved the story along.  Don’t copy, but don’t be afraid to shape their ideas into your own either.

Happy noveling!

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