Friday, December 14, 2007

Are you a Writer, a Reader, or Both?

I've been doing a whole lot of reading lately and it has been heaps of fun. I've revisited authors I've always loved and tried a few that I've never read before.
I know there are authors who prefer not to read while they're working on their own manuscripts, in case they inadvertently filter what they're reading into their work. I imagine this can be a real concern when you're reading in the same line that you write for. Me, I tend to read a lot of romantic suspense (in fact, my TBR pile is growing in anticipation of a gorgeous holiday break away camping in January) so I don't worry over much since that's not a romance sub-genre I write, and when I do read books in my own niche I tend not to be writing (which is the case right now as I'm between books.)

In many ways, it also comes down to voice. After all, they do say there are only a set number of plots out there in the world and it really breaks down to how you say what you say in your story. I've often wondered what would happen if, say, four well-known authors, e.g. Debbie Macomber, Suzanne Brockmann, Mary Balogh and J.R. Ward, were given the same basic story premise and let lose to tell their own story. Just think of the diversity! And all with the same basic characters, plot and outline.

Anyway, I digress. For myself I find if I'm not reading books I enjoy, i.e. read for pleasure and not for market research, then my own creativity tends to wane. Since writing is a solitary game most of the time, reading other stimulating works is almost like networking in a way. It feeds my need for entertainment and satisfaction and thereby gives me the mental stimulation and pleasure to approach my work effectively.

So, when it comes to the question of are you a writer, a reader or both, I fall very definitely and very happily in the 'both' camp. In fact I've been known to get a little (or a lot) cranky when I'm either not reading a good book or writing one! Which are you; reader, writer or both?

Look out for Yvonne Lindsay's February release TYCOON'S VALENTINE VENDETTA with Silhouette Desire, February 2008!
And visit Yvonne at her website or via the exciting Diamonds Down Under website and blog! Exciting Diamonds Down Under competition details will be announced soon!


Jane said...

Hi Yvonne,
I'm just a reader. Have the pressures of being a writer ever overwhelmed you? Are there any other genres you are interested in trying your hand at?

Cryna said...


I am just a reader. I have been reading romance for years and love the romance stories as well as the romance suspense ones. I leave the writing to my daughter - since she has the talent for it and I don't.

Estella said...

I am just a reader. I read almost all genres, and have been for over 50 years.

Yvonne Lindsay said...

Jane, Cryna and Estella, there's no such thing as "just" a reader! Readers are a vital part of authors' lives. Without you all, where would we be?

Jane, the pressures of being a writer almost overwhelmed me when I was in a very demanding day job as well. For the past twelve months I've been a full time writer and I've never felt better. If I'm feeling pressured, it's generally something that I've brought upon myself (i.e. self-imposed deadline, etc.) With regard to other genres, I'm slowly developing a single title romantic suspense with a paranormal twist. Depending on what my Desire deadlines look like in the next year will see whether I go further into this story or not.

Cryna, who are your favourite authors, and all the best for your daughter's writing. That's great.

Estella, it's fun to read across genres. Every now and then I like to pick up something that is completely out of my usual sphere of reading but I often find I'm still looking for the relationship development in the story.

christina said...

I'm an avid reader, but don't read romances when I'm busy writing a book in case I'm accidentally influenced. That's why I curled up last night with 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' while the winter wind howled around the house...

tam said...

I'm a reader, going on 7 years now. Romance in any type as long as it's romance.

Maureen said...

I'm a reader and I do miss it when I don't have time to do much reading.

Cryna said...

Hi Yvonne

Some of my favourite authors are Suzanne Brockmann, Lucy Monroe, Janice Maynard, Lori Foster to just name a few, but I read a wide variety of authors. I love to read anthologies as well, because that way you can pick up some new authors, which is a good way to get a feel for new authors. You would not believe my TBR pile of books, and one day I will get through them

Yvonne Lindsay said...

Hi Christina, ah, The Hound of the Baskervilles, classic drama at its best.

Tam, a romance only reading diet has got to be good for you, yes?

Maureen, oh, I hear you on missing reading when you're short of time. I tend to read in snatches when I'm busy, i.e. waiting in the car when one of the kids is at physio, etc. But if I'm on deadline I feel guilty doing even that and tend to bring my latest ms with me or work on my Alphasmart to add new pages.

Cryna, yes! Anthologies are a great way to source new authors to enjoy. From your list of some of your favourite authors I have a feeling I would deeply envy you your TBR pile.

Lois said...

I'm a plain and simple reader. . . yep, I try to avoid saying just because I've learned that lesson from posting it before. ;) I really don't see myself trying to write, but of course, one can never say the word never. :)


Yvonne Lindsay said...

Lois, I agree, you can never say never, LOL. And reading is a wonderful thing. How else can you be transported to another world/time/people/emotions (okay, maybe TV, but that has ad breaks) without leaving your home? I love to read and for me, its a true sign of the skill of the author if they transport me away from my world and into the one on their pages. I look for that in every book I read.

Anna Campbell said...

Yvonne, waving madly at you from across the ditch! I was a reader way before I was a writer. And I think as a writer I try to get people to experience what readers that same magical feeling I got when I read wonderful writers. Does that make sense? Becoming a writer was purely an imitative act! Like you, I tend to read widely across genres - when I'm working on one of my own books, I can't read historicals. I sit there and edit them all the time in my mind and it's not relaxing. But a great paranormal or contemporary comedy or nail-biting romantic suspense is far enough from what I'm doing for me to get some distance. Great post!

Yvonne Lindsay said...

Anna said: And I think as a writer I try to get people to experience what readers that same magical feeling I got when I read wonderful writers. Does that make sense?

Of course that makes sense, and trust you for seeing that and making it come across so simply in a few clever words! :-)

I think another reason why I don't read within my own line when I'm writing is because I feel that in so many ways I write so differently to the other authors that it can make me doubt my process and the way I tell my stories. Subliminally it might even make me try and change the way I write and how I say things, and we can't mess with voice. Nuh-uh!

deseng said...

Hi Yvonne,

Love your name by the way! I had a friend years ago that had the same name. She pronounced hers, Ya-vonne, even though it was spelled without the "a". Do you pronounce yours the same way?

I am definitely a both! I love to write and absolutely love to read! It is my biggest hobby! I have tons of books!

Happy holidays to you Yvonne!
Michele L.

Yvonne Lindsay said...

Hi Michele L. People pronounce my name in all different ways and I've learned to answer to them all. Seems to depend a lot on which country of origin the person comes from as to how they pronounce it. I get variations on Eeeevon, and Ih-von, and Eh-von-nah. Never had Ya-vonne though :-).

All the best with your writing, Michele!

Nathalie said...

I am just a reader... and I love it!