1. zaneoriginal
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    zaneoriginal Member

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    Boring Books Affecting Writing?

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by zaneoriginal, Jul 24, 2014.

    I'll be honest, I read a lot of boring stuff. Like I find textbooks in used book stores that were for someone's class often with highlights or underlining of certain chapters and find myself reading them cover to cover.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not busting open organic chemistry textbooks and reading about chiral centers on my spare time. I read a lot of history, religious studies and philosophy. I like ideas.

    The novels I have read and enjoyed the most are often one's with some idea in them that really intrigues me. For example, Star Ship Troopers by Heinlein. I felt that book was never really finished and had a lot more that should have gone into the book before it was published, but I was fascinated by someone taking a serious look at an alternative political structure for a society. I cared less about the battle scenes and more about what was going on in that society.

    I wonder if what I read the most has influenced negatively how I write. I want to write about a scene in detail and go into why things are the way they are and what's happening in the background before I go into character's actions. An example would be that I just cut out three paragraphs in a story I'm working on where a third person perspective is explaining the protagonists cleaning habits in his apartment as a means to explain that characters periodic attempts to change his life only to find himself back in the same rut. Sounds exciting doesn't it?

    I find myself writing great lengths only to spend even more time going back and editing it so that things keep moving. What I naturally write has a really slow pace but what I need is to hurry things up a bit.

    I wonder if all those hours reading about the development, spread and eventual disappearance of some ancient religion has done more harm or good to how I write.

    As a final disclaimer the above comments really apply more to my attempts at longer novel length works. I can write really insane very short stories, but once I go into a longer work I want instill in it some more thought and that is where I feel I get lost in the weeds.

    Also, I have no idea if this thread's title should have affecting or effecting.
     
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  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    How often do you read novels? How many of the novels you read are written by contemporary writers? I ask the latter question because we're no longer living in the 19th century, where writers could use a hundred pages to describe a character getting out of bed (Goncharov's Oblomov). Granted, three paragraphs describing a character cleaning his apartment isn't as bad (it wouldn't deter me from reading your book), but given the attention span of modern readers and the preferences of agents/editors, I think it's better to cut these things out unless you absolutely feel like they're contributing in some way to the book (naturally, your opinion will be biased; there are beta readers for that).

    Also, try writing longer short stories. You'll still be forced to economize, but this will prepare you for longer, novel-length works.

    Your thread title is fine by the way.
     
  3. edamame
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    edamame Contributing Member Contributor

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    I find I write better if I do some reading at least every two days. I'm the opposite of you in that I often don't write enough. I don't think there's anything wrong with how you write -- in fact, it may be easier to have more material and sculpt it down instead of building it up brick by brick. My simple suggestion is just to vary your reading so you can write with greater versatility. Also, poetry is not a bad idea. =)
     
  4. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    It's harder nowadays to find books that talk about different ways of thinking or anything of the sort outside of the philosophy section I find as fiction narrative nowadays needs to be more engaging and captivating for the average reader.

    I'm sure there is a way to do it and a market for it as well but I'd guess it's more niche but one I'd definetely be more interested in as books and movies of the sort captivate me much more than mainstream works.
     
  5. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Textbooks are great because they give you a lot of information and when you do write you're story will be chock full of accurate stuff. The only trouble I see is that text books are written dryly to inform rather than entertain and they go over details again and again to make sure you understand them, so that could be affecting your style.

    Certain ideas sure are exciting in and of themselves but anything can be exciting if you make it seem exciting. I think the idea has great potential. There's a great scene in an old Capra movie where Jimmy Stewart is talking about solar energy or more specifically what makes grass green. It's one of my favorite movie moments but to mention that discussion as exciting would seem bizarre. Some tips on keeping the scene interesting - be brief, use some interesting words, maybe work in some humor.
     
  6. aikoaiko
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    aikoaiko Contributing Member

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    This is a really good question and probably worth mulling over. When my kids were small the only things I read were non-fiction. I read books and articles on child-rearing, health, education, or anything else that was directly relevant to what I was doing:). I could have picked up a novel (and did, on rare occasions), but the problem was I would get so into it that I would fail to notice Son Number 2 skipping out the door, LOL.

    But then when I tried to write fiction later the lack of 'experience' caused problems. My writing was too formal (and still is a lot of the time), and there was much too much point by point description. I also 'told' way more than I 'showed', and it was really hard not to spoonfeed a reader. :dry:Over the last several years I've been trying to make up for lost time by reading a lot of novels, and I think it's starting to pay off because the quality of my MS has slowly improved.

    It's important to read a lot of fiction to write good fiction, but then--there's probably a good reason why you like textbooks so much. If you could find a way to combine your facts with an interesting fiction angle, you may come up with something great!
     
  7. Graphics solution
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    Graphics solution Member

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    Books like that are very rare and very difficult to find.
     
  8. thearchitect
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    thearchitect Member

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    Think RAVEN - Affect is a Verb, Effect is a Noun, title is correct :agreed:
     

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