Mandatory Reading

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Genre fiction holds plenty of challenges for writers. If you’re interested in Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Historical Fiction, or any other niche of fiction writing, then you may come across a different set of challenges than Literary Fiction or Non-Fiction writers might. There tend to be conventions held in these genres – things like types of magic, races common to fantasy world, demons or monster types, popular plot arcs, or tropes to avoid – that can heavily influence the reader’s opinion of your work.

Overall, I have one piece of advice that I would give to any writer but especially to a genre fiction writer:

Read books in your genre. Read more of them. No, more. Grab a stack of them and then read those, too.

As a working writer, I do understand that reading takes time, which is something a lot of us seem to sorely lack these days. I know my rate of book-devouring has slowed remarkably since I started copy writing for work and writing a manuscript on the side. I’m sympathetic, I swear!

Despite all the grudging work that reading after a long day’s work can feel like, I do my best to keep up with both older and more recent popular books in my genre, Urban Fantasy. So I’m reading three concurrently right now, getting a feel for authors with different approaches to the genre. I find that even if I don’t enjoy a particular book, per se (or even if I think it’s not particularly well-written), there’s always something to be learned from every read.

So I am afraid, dear reader, that there is no skipping on the homework. If you want to write, you have to read, too.

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