Archive for January 7th, 2010

Jan 07 2010

Why Is It So Important for Authors to Read Widely?

Published by under Writing Articles

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

1.  Because the editors and publisher’s assistants that pick manuscripts do. When you submit a novel manuscript or comic book script to a publisher, the person evaluating your submission has probably read hundreds of novels or comic books in your genre and rejected thousands more.  Being familiar with many works by a variety of authors makes it somewhat less likely that your writing will be unacceptably cliche.

2.  The more sources you have, the less likely your book will feel like a ripoff. If you’re writing a fantasy book and half of the fantasy authors you’ve read are named Tolkien or Rowling, it will show. Everybody’s familiar with famous authors, so it’s easy to detect their influence on a work. In contrast, if you’re familiar with a wide variety of obscurer authors, your subconscious will steer you away from easily-identifiable knockoffs.

3. You’ll be more familiar with trends in the field. If you were a superhero author that had only read a few superhero stories, your protagonist would probably have some notable similarities to Superman (such as being rarely morally conflicted, having a list of superpowers as long as your arm, etc). But Superman and similar heroes don’t sell notably well today. Being familiar with current trends in your field makes it less likely for an editor to say something like “I would have loved to work with this forty years ago, but the market isn’t there today.”

Continue Reading »

10 responses so far