I have heard lots of writers say that they don’t read books when they’re writing because their work could be contaminated by what they are reading. I never really paid much attention to that idea and I have always read books while I’ve been writing, but it did affect what I was writing. I first got into reading in my late teens after I brought Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six, this is still one of my all time favourite books and I really want to read it again but I have a big back log of books to read so it’ll have to wait. As there was a ‘2 for £10’ I brought The Bear And The Dragon as well, also a great book. I started writing a few years later and had been reading Clancy’s books which are international espionage, technology, heavy fiction and so forth and I found that was the sort of thing that I was trying to write. The first thing I ever wrote is military based and it holds a lot of technology aspects (We’ll hopefully be re-writing that in the next couple of years) I then started reading The Da Vinci and Dan Brown’s other novels and I found that I was trying to put little puzzles in the story for my characters to try to solve, it didn’t go well! But it was still writing, it was still getting the words out of my head so I think that in the long-term I have benefitted from that.
I’ve been writing for about seven years now and as I’ve said in previous posts I have only really gotten serious in the last eighteen months but I don’t seem to be as affected by what I am reading anymore, although since reading Scott Sigler’s books and listening to his podcasts I have noticed that what I write has a little more horror in it. As a general rule though what I am reading does not seep its way into my writing, I think lol.
What I think that I take from what I’m reading now is more the craft of writing and some inspiration in what I write. Obviously I’m not going to copy, plagiarise any of what I read but ideas are sparked from what we discover. It’s the same with films. I was watching the film 127 Hours and a tiny bit from the beginning gave me a great little idea for part of one of my stories, I’m not sure if I can use it but the idea is there and if I cannot use it I’ll recycle it and put it somewhere else.
Someone I used to work for would say about rival companies that it does not matter what they are doing, what matters is what we’re doing. Because if we’re doing our job right then we don’t have to worry about anyone else.
When he said that to me it really sunk in and i think that no matter what anyone else is doing, or what the market place may be doing if what we are doing is great, then it will win through.