1. B.Loxy
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    B.Loxy New Member

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    What should I read?

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by B.Loxy, Oct 19, 2014.

    Hi. I've been writing for the best part of a year now, and I've produced two novels and a third one on its way. I consider them to be rough drafts rather than publishable works due to the fact my writing quality isn't the best (it's not terrible, its semi-decent but it could be better) and I've only done one edit of them. My poor writing quality is due to the fact I received no advanced english training in school (I was home-schooled) and I don't read.

    I've always struggled with reading. I can write very easily, much easier compared to reading. Not to say I haven't read at all, but when I do read I have to really like the book and struggle greatly to read it. Then the minute the plot does something I don't like I put it down and don't read it again. I also struggle to write and read at the same time, as a result, I've not read more than half a book in a whole year.

    As a result I have noticed during my writing I tend to repeat phrases/words/sentence structures. I have been told by other writers I should read more. My question is what should I read more of exactly?

    Since I am in college, learning to drive and writing I would like something which isn't too heavy, difficult or long. Previously I've liked fantasy novels without intense sexual scenes (sex is boring, in my strange opinion) or heavy descriptions (I disliked Lord of the Rings because of that, but I liked The Hobbit). I also prefer if the overall conclusion is positive. I write fantasy with self-growth themes myself. So if there was something anyone knew about which is published and under 100,000 words that fits within my descriptions, telling me about it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    You should read more of everything, but you should focus on the genre you write in, which I'm guessing is primarily fantasy. I don't read much fantasy, so I can't give you any specific recommendations. Have you tried looking at lists of the best fantasy novels? I just did a Google search and found a ton of results. Look up some of the books on those lists and read reviews written by others to see if those books are ones you would like to read. That's where I would start.
     
  3. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    For fantasy, ever read Ian Irvine? Neil Gaiman? Robert E. Howard?

    China Melville I hear is pretty good by any standard.

    Other than for fantasy, I don't really know where to start. It feels lazy to just say this but ever read Stephen King?
     
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  4. B.Loxy
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    B.Loxy New Member

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    Thank you I will try this. I don't know why I find reading so difficult, part of me is thinking because I don't like to get wrapped up in other people's stories lest they effect my own and I can't read fast enough to read a lot.
     
  5. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    While Steven Brust's Vlad Taltos novels are a series. Many stand alone well. I would recommend Jhereg (the first novel in the series) or Taltos, which is chronologically first. They're not long and fast paced, with strong dialogue and adventure.

    Second, I would recommend Roger Zelazny's Amber series. If you're in for science fiction that have fantastical elements, then Zelazny's classic Lord of Light, might fit, or Creatures of Light and Darkness. All are creative with strong characters and plots.

    Third, I'd recommend the First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Steven R. Donaldson. These are more epic with more 'stately' language. Better than Lord of the Rings, although the first novel, Lord Foul's Bane can be difficult to get through, but worth it as it sets up the other two novels (The Illearth War and The Power that Preserves). Has a good anti-hero in Thomas Covenant, as well as very interesting characters, creatures and cultures.

    Finally, I'd recommend Hounded, and maybe the follow on novels by Kevin Hearn in his Iron Druid Chronicles. Great characters, including gods and goddesses.

    In any case, with your concerns, I'd recommend reading at least three different authors.

    Finally, I'd recommend the possibility of audiobooks. They can save time (you can listen while doing mundane tasks). With this I'd definitely recommend the Iron Druid Chronicles.
     
  6. jonahmann
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    jonahmann Active Member

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    That's why you
    a) are selective of what you read and
    b) read a lot.
     
  7. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    There's literally a mountain of good fiction out there. I don't read fantasy so can't really help with that genre, but a lot of books are trial and error, some you'll hate, some you'll read but with one eye closed and others will change your life.

    Don't be concerned about not liking to read. My youngest sister didn't read a single book from cover to cover by the time she entered University. She's now a doctor of psychology and incredibly well-read. Some people take longer to fall in love with books. Write if that's what you enjoy. Other than that, maybe read some short stories. Stephen King, Virginia Woolf, Haruki Murakami, Borges, and countless other great writers wrote great shorts.

    ps. Is there a book you did read and liked? If so, let us know which one, it might help with better recommendations. :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2014
  8. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    You've received some good advice -- read as much as you can of everything you can, but especially be on the lookout for stuff in your genre. If you find a good bookstore, you might get some good suggestions from the people who work there.
    You can overcome a bad homeschool education. Good for you being in college -- take whatever English and writing classes you can (even if you take them at night or over the summer or pass/fail, if you're worried you won't do well.)
     
  9. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    China is, as you know, one of my favorites. The man is stonkingly brilliant, but he's a heavy read. I think his work might invoke some of the barriers to reading that the OP laid out.

    I'm currently reading a refreshingly short little set of books by Jeff VanderMeer, The Southern Reach trilogy (they are titled: Annihilation, Authority, Acceptance). The first book is only 200 pages. 200 pages! Imagine, in this day of single books that can prop open doors against gail force winds, a whole novel in just 200 pages. Well written, very character driven, urban science fantasy.
     
  10. B.Loxy
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    B.Loxy New Member

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    I already do the first thing, I'm just far too selective and reading a lot probably isn't that much of an option given my reading speed and lack of free time but I will try my best ouo

    My homeschooling education wasn't bad per say the problem is in my specific country English literature and creative writing aren't valued very highly (actually a lot of people here can't write creatively). Therefore I can't find specific creative writing classes which is frustrating, no one is teaching me how to properly use dialogue (like I've heard I'm only supposed to use it to move plot along and NOT to reveal information relevant to the characters. Something that I've been doing constantly) avoid my reuse of phrases/styles (even my non-fiction GP mother has identified these. I gave my book to a published YA fiction writer and she spotted it within twenty seconds) so I don't know how to improve. If I hadn't been homeschooled I would never have wrote because creativity is evil and a waste of everyone's time in public schooling here, so I'm thankful for that, but the limitations have been difficult to overcome.


    Thank you very much! Audiobooks are helpful to me, however my concentration comes and goes sporadically especially with the fact I've got so many other thing son my mind. I found something on my own which I'm not enjoying just because it's effecting my own style and taking up my attention but I have set a minimum of three chapters a day with that book so I should be through it in some weeks. However it's got others after it I think which I don't plan to read.

    I see, thank you very much! A lot of books I can force myself through but it's not enjoyable.

    I enjoy writing a lot and find it much easier than reading, and considering the fact I've not read a lot and I'm less than twenty, I'm actually pretty good. I use it as a tool to help me through life as well, and I find it's a productive way to get myself tangled up in a story if it's actually mine. I've spent a large proportion of my life so far sitting around thinking about other peoples story (which is also why I've got 2100 hours on a particular video game) which was largly unproductive. Now my own creativity is actually doing something and working so I'm enjoying it. ]

    However unfortunately I don't have a book I've really enjoyed since I was a child. While those books were good I don't want to read child fiction anymore and I suppose I did like what I read of Game of Thrones except the everyone dies part of the plotline.
     
  11. B.Loxy
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    B.Loxy New Member

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    Thank you! That seems a very convenient length for me.
     
  12. Poet of Gore
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    Poet of Gore Member

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    start off with The Informers by Bret Easton Ellis
     

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