Monday, January 14, 2013

Good Stories for Inspiration

As anyone who's surfed the pages of author fansites, wiki projects, and the Nook, Amazon, and various other  eBook libraries, there are many, many, MANY novels, novellas, and short stories available for all of us to read.  Some of them are put out by big-name publishing houses.  Others by indie publishers who may follow the "traditional" model, or possibly they focus more heavily on eBooks, or perhaps they're exclusively an electronic publishing house.  And, of course, there are self-published titles.

Each and every one of these books, if well-written, can serve as inspiration for whatever project a writer may be working on.  And I may be making an extreme statement when I say that the genre is pretty much irrelevant.  At least to the extent that I'm referring to.

What I mean to say is that good story structure serves as a model for anyone writing Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, Commercial Fiction, Literary Fiction, Memoirs, Horror, etc.  The basic plot needs to be in every one of those styles (no matter what you say about Literary Fiction).  The same can be said about descriptions, character development, world-building (to whatever extent that must be done in a given project), dialogue, or any other facet of writing that one can think of.

My point, here, is that inspiration can be all around us, even in places where we may not expect it.  And if you, as a writer, are struggling with a certain project, maybe move to something from a different genre or niche.  Personally, I read a lot Fantasy.  But one of the most rewarding experiences I ever had (and I learned a LOT about writing and story development) was reading Romance.  Westerns give me ideas for characters in my Sci-Fi universe.  So do classics, like Cabbages and Kings by O'Henry.

If you write and read exclusively Fantasy, break away from it.  Go check out a Mystery novel.  Pick up something from the Literary section, even if it's more commercial.  The change in style may just open your eyes to something that you didn't realize you were missing.  And it will help you reforge your words in a manner that could stand out to agents and editors.  Giving it that extra something that will catch your audience's attention.


  1. I definitely agree! Inspiration can come from anywhere and sometimes it's from the most unlikely places. Plus it's always fantastic to have that knowledge of other genres so that you can understand how to utilize the elements for your own purposes.
    Definitely great advice. :)

    1. Thanks for dropping by :D. I'm glad I'm not alone in this opinion, either.

  2. Awesome advice.

    Read. Read. Read. Just don't read one type of book. Read different books by various authors so that you develop different styles. R. L. Stine

  3. Great advice, Giles! I've been reading psychological thrillers lately. So outside of my comfort zone! :)

  4. I totally agree. I love mixing it up a little (though sometimes it reminds me why I love YA so much, haha!). There are so many amazing books, and good writing definitely gives me a boost for my writing.

  5. Great advice, Giles! Once I finisht he trilogy I'm reading I think I'll try on a romance or a western for fun! :)