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DISCLAIMER:

I do not read every book/author I spotlight or book tour I host!
Readers, Please research and use wisdom before buying

Thursday, July 6, 2017

#ThursdayThoughts Guest post by @MeganWhitsonLee

Hello and Welcome!

Well, June is behind us and California is in my rear-view mirror. We spent the last couple of days in Prospect, OR and visited Crater Lake National Park. I'll be sharing photos from that in a couple of weeks. Still have memories to share from three other parks in CA. Anyway....we're on the road to WA today to visit those 3 National parks!

Last month I introduced to you a brand-new-to-me author, Megan Whitson Lee. Today Megan returns to share some thoughts with us....

Read Everything

My grandmother introduced me to books. She was a voracious reader and devoured a book day. She encouraged me to read the classics, but she read romance novels like they were “going out of style” (one of her favorite sayings).

Up until a few years ago, I only read women’s contemporary fiction. I wanted real-life situations with realistic characters who had realistic problems and sought realistic solutions. When I began to write for publication, I joined writing communities, met other authors, and attended writers conferences. I quickly learned that there were genres I didn’t even know about. I was familiar with science fiction but had never heard of speculative. New adult, Amish, mail-order brides, and cowboy romances were completely unknown to me. I’d never read romantic suspense…and what in the world was steampunk? As I made more writer friends, I wanted to read their books, which led me into literary territory both foreign and exciting.

As a result of expanding my reading genres, a funny thing happened—my writing changed. Suddenly, a little romance crept into my story-lines. I stopped worrying about absolute realism, and allowed my characters to be a little more natural in their reactions. And I was completely taken aback when a fight scene slammed into the middle of my work-in-progress. How did that happen?

Reading across a variety of genres is important for our own writing. It opens up new worlds and new ways of storytelling. Different genres allow us to envision unfamiliar scenarios, characters, and settings and moves us out of our safe corral. It’s easy to fall into the rut of using the same descriptions, tag lines, and characteristics. Maybe introducing a character to an alternative world doesn’t make sense for our story, but a character’s strange new work situation or her escape to a prayer closet might use the same sort of descriptors. Techniques are transferable.

Read everything. Writers support each other, learn from each other, and our writing is better for it.

What great advice, Megan! Thanks for sharing.

Megan Whitson Lee is a wife, a mom of two greyhounds, an editor for Pelican Book Group, and a high school English teacher. Her novel, Captives, won the 2016 Director's Choice Award and was a finalist for a Selah Award in the women's contemporary fiction category at Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference.

Megan writes women's contemporary and historical fiction featuring characters standing at the crossroads of major life decisions, crises of faith, and moral dilemmas. Her novels depict real-life problems, address universal spiritual and moral struggles, and offer messages of hope, recovery, and redemption through God’s saving grace.

Her newest YA book, Suburban Dangers can be found at Amazon in Print and for Kindle and at Pelican Book Group. Find out more about Megan by visiting her Website and connecting with her on Facebook, Twitter (@MeganWhitsonLee), Instagram and Pinterest.

Hope you enjoyed today's guest post and that you'll join me each week for Tuesday Treasures, Thursday Thoughts and Saturday Spotlight!

Until next time, take care and God Bless.
PamT

12 comments:

Ruthette said...

Yes! This is so true. Also, it helps to think of trying new genres as you would try new foods. When you're a kid, you have to be forced to eat new dishes under threat from your parents, who tell you that you'll never know whether you'll like it or hate it until you try. I've always approached reading that way. :)

Megan Whitson Lee said...

Great analogy, Ruth! My mom always made me try new foods too.

Vicki Batman, sassy writer of sexy and funny fiction, blogger at Handbags, Books...Whatever said...

So nice to meet a new author to me--Megan! Congratulations on your books

Kathleen Neely said...

When I joined a book club, I found myself reading things that I would not have chosen. Some of the best books came from that experience. I agree – read everything. Thanks for the blog.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

I strongly believe in reading a variety of kinds of books and magazines as well as newspapers. In turn, my writing is also varied. It keeps the mind sharp and active.

Tanya Hanson said...

Congratulations on such great books and awards, Megan. And I totally agree we need to be well-rounded readers. I am an English teacher too and always advise writers going back and reading the classics, too.

Megan Whitson Lee said...

Thanks Vicki, Kathleen, Jacqueline, and Tanya,

I'm not able to reply to you each individually for some reason, but thank you for reading and for your lovely comments. I especially find summer is a great time to read all kinds of books. People usually recommend titles for "summer reads," and what better place to read than when you're on vacation!

Erin Unger said...

It's so neat to come across this blog post at this time. Recently, I started reading different genres too. I've been a staunch suspense reader for years and it was hard to break away from that genre. But reading Speculative, romantic comedy, and cowboy stories, among a few genres to name, has really been fun. I can now see how reading all genres helps a writer become stronger in their craft, no matter which one they write.

Judy Ann Davis said...

Good post. Yes, reading voraciously from all genres allows your imagination to soar when you hit the keyboard. People say that you shouldn't do it to be sure your writing is "pure," but I'm of the opinion that other writers teach us and help us expand our creativity boundaries.

Megan Whitson Lee said...

Erin,
Yes, I think we're exposed to all different types of writing when we branch out of our safe reading zone, and from that we can learn different techniques for characterization, narrative arc, etc.
Judy,
I couldn't disagree more regarding reading one genre to keep the writing "pure." If you really cannot stand reading one particular genre, that's one thing; but the imagination cannot stretch if we don't exercise it in different ways. Thanks for commenting, ladies!

Melissa Henderson said...

I have read Suburban Dangers and the story is amazing. The story truly makes the reader aware of situations happening here and now.

Megan Whitson Lee said...

Thanks, Melissa!