I read. A lot.
Books that speak to me will usually get read multiple times. Re-reading a book is a lazy Saturday where you don’t even bother getting dressed. It’s comfortable and worn like your favorite pair of jammies.
Lately, however, I find myself re-reading old favorites with a more critical eye. I note lags in the flow, excessive description, cliches and random hyperbole.
And sometimes I think to myself, I could do better than this and this was a best-selling author.
Was. That’s the pertinent word. The ones I’m most critical of are classics that can’t really be held to today’s standards. But I doing it anyway. I study their sentence structures and how they set a scene. And that’s where I give them kudos. No one sets a mood quite like the old masters.
I find I don’t care for a lot of modern literature. It’s too violent, too raunchy, too….modern for me. I prefer older writers like Agatha Christie, Mary Stewart and David Eddings. (Ok, admit to laughing at that last name coupled with the other two cuz I did, too.)
So what do I find myself writing? Modern Romances. Everything I try to write turns into a romance. The mystery novel I worked so hard on? It morphed into a romance by the time I hit chapter 3. The werewolf short? It’s turning into a romance as well. I can’t get away from it.
And these aren’t my mama’s Harlequin’s either. There is blood, there is sex, there is torture, there is death and there is mayhem.
This from the person that has the perception that today’s best-sellers are all angles, hard edges and oceans of gore. It’s like sitting down naked on an iceberg and hugging a shard of glass. No matter what you do, you aren’t comfortable. I just can’t read stuff like that no matter how many rave reviews it gets.
Now there are some modern authors I do admire and wouldn’t mind emulating. And they all seem to be in the paranormal romance field. Marjorie M. Liu and Christine Feehan spring to mind. They’ve managed to write modern stories that don’t feel modern. And for that I love them
And maybe that’s why I write the way I do. I’m trying to capture the essence of my old loves and merge them with my new. Let’s hope it turns out as well as I hope.
PS re-reading this blog, I fear I’ve not done justice to the title, but that’s ok. The voices in my head understood. 😉