Wednesday, 3 March 2021

IWSG March 2021

It's time once again for our monthly posting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Hosted as ever by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the aim of the group is to offer a safe space where writers can share fears and insecurities without being judged. This month's excellent co-hosts are Sarah - The Faux Fountain PenJacqui MurrayChemist KenVictoria Marie LeesNatalie Aguirre and JQ Rose.


This month I'm feeling in an optimistic frame of mind, with spring in the air and the vaccine doing the rounds (my daughter had her first shot last week and my wife will get hers on Friday). Hopefully a bit more normality is ahead for all of us. I do have the usual nervy insecurity that comes with having a book out with CPs. Never sure how it will go down!

Let's turn to this month's IWSG question which is as follows: 

Everyone has a favorite genre or genres to write. But what about your reading preferences? Do you read widely or only within the genre(s) you create stories for? What motivates your reading choice?

This is a great question. I definitely think it's important to read as widely as possible. I'm currently leaning towards speculative fiction for writing, but I started out writing crime novels. I do think I was reading more of those at the time and now I know a lot of bloggers who write spec fic. But I read other things too. As a reader it should be the story that comes first, then worry about whatever genre it fits into. I'm all for groundbreaking ideas and concepts, but I won't get far with the story they're in if I don't connect with the characters. As a writer I also think there are things to be learned from all kinds of genres. They bleed into one another all the time. We tend to think of romances as being set in either contemporary times or the past, but if there's a story set in the future in which genetically engineered cyborgs fall in love, we'll call it sci-fi, but isn't there a case for calling it romance if that's the most important element? Publishing would be in a pretty insular state if all writers stuck rigidly to reading the genre in which they work.

What would be your answer to this question? Don't forget to check out many more IWSG posts here.

33 comments:

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Nick, I agree that its important to read widely, I do that when I don't have a deadline to chase.

Btw, you mentioned you daughter getting her first jab and your wife's Friday appointment, what about yours?

lostinimaginaryworlds.blogspot.com said...

The answer is both, and I read and re-read books that I feel are similar to mine. Then worry in case I sound too much like the other author!

Natalie Aguirre said...

That's great that your wife and daughter got their vaccination. I agree with you that we can learn a lot (and enjoy more good stories) by reading outside our genre. And it can help us see that we might want to write in a different genre, like you're doing, too.

Patsy said...

I agree that we should read widely – but it's so tempting to keep selecting genres we're familiar with.

Annalisa Crawford said...

I'll give most books a try, if the story is compelling. In my experience, it's not the genre I don't like but the way a certain book is written.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Nick - so glad to read your wife and daughter have had their jabs and hope you'll get yours sometime soon. It will certainly make life easier - but a wile away, yet. Good luck with your book out to CPs ...

Reading - I read most things ... but won't! I'm into educative style books of various genres ... stay safe and all the best - Hilary

John Winkelman said...

Hi Nick. A pleasure to meet you, by way of ISWG!

I read widely, both in genre and form. I find that when I am suffering from writer's block reading, something absolutely unlike what I have been writing helps get me through to the other side. Or it gets my mind off my problems, which might be the same thing. I primarily write fiction, though I find reading poetry helps with description and reading drama (hello Tom Stoppard!) can help greatly with dialog.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

So many genres blend now and that's a good thing.

Ellen Jacobson said...

So good to hear that your family is getting the vaccine. I really enjoy books which mix genres.

Jemi Fraser said...

I'm all about the characters as well. They are what pull me in and keep me in the story. It's all about the heart :)

Bish Denham said...

A good story is a good story, regardless of the genre. And, I also read a variety of non-fiction - history, biography/autobiography, philosophy/spiritual/comparative religion...

Patricia Josephine aka Patricia Lynne said...

I read mostly fantasy or sci-fi, but I will pick up another genre if the cover catches my eye and the blurb interests me enough.

Carrie Ann said...

I don't read as widely as I should. I'd love to read more mysteries like I used to as a girl.

Jean Davis said...

I agree. I'm much more drawn to characters and interesting stories than worrying about what genre might be when it comes to reading.

Stay healthy and good luck with your incoming feedback from CPs. :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

We can learn something from every genre. They each have strengths and unique ways of telling a story.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Well, I messed up this month's question on my blog, but I'll give a quick answer here: I agree with you. :) I love reading fantasy and sci-fi, but I read most genres in some form or another. I'm not into super gore or erotica, but those are my main limits. I read children's through adult, all text or graphic/comic novels, short stories, short novellas, epics, and all genres, even poetry, which can be fiction or non-fiction.

Liza said...

Like you, I have to connect with the characters. If I'm going to spend hours with someone, even an imaginary someone, I need to like them. Even if I don't love them, they need some redeeming quality that makes me want to stick with then until the last page.

Lee Lowery said...

I concur that reading widely is important for writers. As a reader, I want to read about relatable characters doing something interesting. The elements of a good story are the same, no matter the genre. No one would dare accuse The Maltese Falcon of being a romance, and yet? At the end, Sam says he'll wait for Brigid.

Anne Higa said...

Nick, I love this. One of my favorite romance novels isn't really at all. Totally hard sci-fi. It's a not-really "romance" between a sentient computer program and a cyborg. I'd say what the series is, but it would be a spoiler for the latest book. The "romance" comes to fruition when they "make a kid" (a robot with elements of their shared code/design) together. Hey, you never know! Thanks for making me smile.

Anne from annehiga.com

Liz A. said...

Being widely read is definitely a good thing. I think we go through phases where one type of story is more appealing.

Sarah Foster said...

So true--we can learn things from every genre!

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

I totally agree we can learn so much from all genres.

Diane Burton said...

Before I started writing, I never paid attention to genre. I read what sounded good. I can't imagine a time when I won't read. I hope you got your vaccine already. I got my 1st shot last week.

J Lenni Dorner said...

Yay for optimism! And congrats to those getting the vaccines.

Sci-fi romance. The final frontier of genres? ;)

I love reading a wide variety of genres. I posted for IWSG day today. My post includes a new book by a friend, a note about a free book next week, a tweet about a query contest (LGBTQ romance this round), and a quick message about April Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

J Lenni Dorner~ Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge, Debut Author Interviewer, Reference& Speculative Fiction Author

lostinimaginaryworlds.blogspot.com said...

Agreed, I read and read and absorb the technique from so many writers.

Shannon Lawrence said...

The more people who get their vaccinations, the more optimistic I feel! Glad you're family's getting there.

Loni Townsend said...

I'll try books all over the place, but I tend to gravitate back to fantasy. Guess it calls to my soul. :)

S.E. White Books said...

I am also a big fan of reading wide through multiple genres. And yes, you make an excellent point about genres borrowing from each other and bleeding into each other all the time!

H.R. Sinclair said...

So true. And I think it's hard to know what we really want to write it we don't read widely.

Mary Aalgaard said...

I agree. Reading a variety of genres is important. Publishers, and most people, like to categorize things, so that's how they "file" some books, but they can cross many genres. And, yes, it must be character driven for me, too!

Victoria Marie Lees said...

Hi Nick! I agree. There is always something to be learned from any genre you read. Thanks for a succinct post! All best to you, sir.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I can read any genre if the characters are interesting enough. Glad you received your shots. I'm still waiting.

Damyanti said...

Hope you get your vaccination soon too!