What I Write vs. What I Read – July Round Robin

I haven’t always loved to read. As a writer that seems like a scandalous admission but honestly, there had been too much going on inside my head for me to fully appreciate the work of other writers.

In my defense, this was sometime between grammar school and high school, so when I say “younger” I mean pigtails and Barbie dolls. That isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy writing back then because I did. And in fact, I have a cousin who used to swear I made Barbie dolls more interesting than anyone else. Instead of just going to work and coming home, Barbie (who was given a different name because honestly, who wants to be called Barbie?) we would go on adventures through time or try to avoid dying in some major natural disaster.

I don’t mean that to sound pretentious. At the time I had no idea that the way I played with my toys was any different from other girls.

But all of these stories and “play” in my imagination where I created the rules made reading about someone else’s rules and worlds a little more difficult. And then … Wait Til Helen Comes traumatized me in the 6th grade. I read the whole thing in a day, hiding it under my desk during school because I absolutely had to know what happened.

I’m pretty sure the teacher knew and didn’t say anything.

After that, it was like reading exploded into my life. My Aunt Debi has always been a big reader and every now and then I’d get one of her books. That’s how I found Jurassic Park. And The Hobbit. And this one novel whose title I can’t remember but it was about a big octopus/squid thing that ate people.

Genre’s didn’t matter, and they still don’t. I will read anything and everything, which is probably why I write in various genre’s as well. I broke into this business with Fantasy novels, moved to science fiction, then historical fiction, and I have a horror novel waiting to be edited in October.

The one thing I haven’t been able to write, but I will certainly try it again at some point, has been the murder mystery. I’m not sure why, since I love Sherlock Holmes and intelligent mysteries of that ilk, but those books tend to linger in a dark place. You have to understand your murderer, after all, and I find that unsettling.

I used to watch Criminal Minds but stopped because it was leaving me with that unsettled, distrustful sense too.

Anyway, I’m not sure what attracts people to read any one particular genre. I’ve never been able to restrain myself to just one, so I find it a trifle bizarre anyone could say; “Oh, I only read Urban Fantasies.” Or, in the most snobbish voice I’ve ever heard; “Fantasy and Science Fiction aren’t real fiction. You should read literary fiction. Or at least the classics. Anything else is just drivel.”

… No, really. I’ve heard that.

My response to that was to avoid the literary fiction section of the bookstore for a couple of years. Which I suppose wasn’t fair to literary fiction authors.

See what my fellow authors have to say in this month’s Round Robin …

Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea/view/542

(YOU ARE HERE) A.J. Maguire  https://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/

Marci Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/

Anne de Gruchy https://annedegruchy.co.uk/category/blog/

Heather Haven http://heatherhavenstories.com/blog/

Dr. Bob Rich https://bobrich18.wordpress.com/rhobins-round-robin/

Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com/blog

Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/

Rhobin Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com

Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/

Kay Sisk http://www.kaysisk.com/blog

9 thoughts on “What I Write vs. What I Read – July Round Robin

  1. Yes, I’ve been an omnivore reader too. Try almost anything at least once. 🙂
    What you did with your barbie dolls sounds delightful. Would you like to visit my granddaughter?

    1. lol, I took them on adventures through time and space. Forced them to endure natural disasters and even had a police woman in there somewhere trying to keep people safe. Because it was totally natural in my brain that a police officer should save the world.

  2. AJ, I love murder mysteries, but can’t watch Criminal Minds either. I felt like it was a training ground for local serial killers. Anyhow, I love to read many different genres, too, but not horror! I read to relax and horror really revs up my protect yourself systems.

  3. Hello! Nice to meet you on my first Round Robin! I found your comments re ‘literary’ fiction interesting – I’ve always felt I’ve had to be a bit apologetic about wanting to write it!! It’s a bit like being middle-class – it shouldn’t be something negative but people sometimes act as if it is. I love reading anything, really, but the things I most enjoy usually fall under the literary heading, but this round robin topic has made me feel I should be more experimental. I do love fantasy, too…

    1. I have nothing against literary fiction. I’ve read several and enjoyed them. I’m not sure why that particular person/book club felt that way but it left me with a sour note that kept me from reading that brand of fiction for several years. I grew out of that, though.

  4. Two things your post brought up that resonate with me completely. I have a hard time with Stephen King and others of his ilk. Our world is scary enough without going looking for more. And I agree about Criminal Minds. I’m also, unabashedly, not very interested in literary fiction. For me fiction is a chance to have a good time between the pages of a book, I like escapism. I was never a fan of Jane Eyre for instance. Occasionally I’ll read either a classic or a contemporary literary effort that someone recommends for me, but I don’t hunt them down on my own.

    1. P.S. – Once upon a time I felt guilty about reading only “fun” books and avoiding deep literature, but I’ve gotten to that place in life where I know I can’t possibly live long enough to read everything I want to read so I’m not going to waste time reading stuff I don’t enjoy.

  5. AJ, it seems like lots of writers are very open about what they read. I had an English teacher who was surprised I read such a wide variety of genres, because she could only read romance. I was kind of shocked.

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