Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Reading Outside of Your Chosen Genre

Well-rounded reading makes for well-rounded writing. There, I said it. Yes, it's only my opinion but I'm sticking to it. We all know the importance of reading extensively within the genre you write. For me, that's young adult (YA) and more specifically, urban fantasy and post-apocalyptic YA. If you write YA, you definitely should read a TON of it to get a feel for things like pacing, plot, and characterization. Recent reads for me have included The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson and The Maze Runner by James Dashner (both awesome). Next up: Ender's Game which I've been meaning to read forever.

However, I believe my writing has benefited from reading other types of books as well. My book club primarily reads literary fiction a la The Help and Still Alice (both wonderful), and I'm a sucker for non-fiction that makes me think, such as Freakonomics and The Tipping Point (both amazing).  I learn and pull things from everything I read, which hopefully adds new dimensions to my chosen genre.

What about you? Do you think there are benefits to reading a wide scope of material? What's the last book you read that's NOT what you typically read or write?


  1. Kristi,
    For me, it's the old rule of everything in moderation. I write PBs, so while I read many of them to stay current in that genre, that doesn't exactly stimulate me as a reader :) I read mainly in YA these days. But the principles of good writing and reading are intertwined. I learn so much about writing from just about everything I read. Terrific post!


  2. I agree. I tend to read a lot of YA but I do read 'adult' books too. I also read PBs with my Goddaughter, does that count? :)

    I'm reading The Passage by Justin Cronin at the moment.

  3. I read a TON of PB's to my little ones--I forgot to include those. :)

    Lindsay--I just bought The Passage but haven't started it yet. It looks great!

  4. Absolutely! Although I have to admit I'm a tough sell on those things not in my chosen genre. It has to be GOOD. The last one? SEA. YA,but NOT paranormal or fantasy and it was fantastic. Highly recommended

  5. Lisa-I'll have to add that to my list. I've heard great things about it and I don't usually read contemporary either.

  6. I read a lot of different books. I agree with you that it helps you develop your writing. But I do read a great deal of YA. It's what I write, and I want to keep up on the market.

    The last book I read was The Golden Spiral by Lisa Mangum. Loved it.

  7. Completely agree. I write YA but my nightstand stack incudes poetry, chick lit and even nonfiction. When I'm working hard on my own ms revision, I find it easier to read a non-YA at the end of the day.


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