Mark Terry

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What Do You Read?

October 21, 2008
I was thinking about this question today because, frankly, there's an interesting dichotomy in my reading.

Let's put it this way: the books that I gravitate to most, the ones I absolutely LOVE to read.

In theory, those are the ones you should write.

Now, having said that, when it comes to adult fiction, I'm definitely of the hard-boiled mystery/thriller category. I love PI novels and quasi-detectives like Randy Wayne White's Doc Ford or Jonathan Kellerman's Alex Delaware. I love Sue Grafton and John Sandford, the PI novels of Robert B. Parker and Rick Riordan and Robert Crais, the cop novels of Michael Connelly.

I like but do not necessarily love spy novels (sorry Natasha) and I do, actually, love the somewhat un-categorizable novels of Dick Francis, which are mystery/thrillers that feature different characters, almost all related in odd ways to horse racing. But my favorite of his novels is "To The Hilt" where the main character is a painter (who usually paints pictures of golf courses, oddly enough), but gets involved in, among many things, a missing racehorse.

Anyway, it's clear to me that if I'm going to spend time writing adult fiction I might want to focus on a PI novel or cop novel. In fact, it's been years since I wrote a PI novel and I'm thinking, hmmmm....

But here's the dichotomy. SF aside (I don't love it, but I do read some of it), the other category I've been reading more of it YA or middle school grades books. And in those books, there's almost always a supernatural element or outright fantasy. Of course, Harry Potter, but also Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson novels (he's a demigod), and the Artemis Fowl books (definitely fantasy), and Ridley Pearson's Kingdom Keepers (Fantasy), and Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider novels (hard to categorize precisely, because Alex is a 14-year-old James Bond, essentially, but the stories are so Bondian outrageous they might as well be fantasies).

The point of this is to suggest that if you're puzzled as to what you should be writing, you could do worse than to study what authors you respond to the most, what it is you respond to about them, and then, well, go for it.

Which, now that I think about it, maybe I will. It HAS been a long time since I had a go at a PI novel...

Cheers,
Mark Terry

10 Comments:

Anonymous Zoe Winters said...

Fiction:

Romance: Paranormal romance, some YA romance, and some historical. Romantic suspense very occasionally.

Erotica: The twisted stuff.

Nonfiction:

lots of small business books and books on publishing lately.

12:56 PM  
Blogger spyscribbler said...

I've been thinking of this lately, since I'm hoping to attempt a NY-able novel for NaNo. But sheesh. I can't determine a freaking pattern. It's so frustrating.

I love certain spy novels, but find many of them intolerably male and boring. I love Neil Gaiman. I love Laurell K. Hamilton. Janet Evanovich. Phillipa Gregory. John Irving. Marcus Sakey. Jason Pinter. Barry Eisler. Dickens, Bronte, D.H. Lawrence, Thomas Hardy, Charlaine Harris, Eric Mayer, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Rumi, Jeanine Frost. Erica's stuff. Yours. Some kinky stuff.

I've read all of that in the last year and I can't find a single gosh darn pattern. I don't know. *sigh* I would gladly give up the idea of writing a NY-able novel, if only it would freaking go away!

12:58 PM  
Blogger Erica Orloff said...

If I venture outside of physics . . . I read Neil Gaiman . . Margaret Atwood . . . revisit beloved books like Jane Eyre. Some memoir. Since I am toying with a Demon Baby book, some essayists like David Sedaris.

E

1:56 PM  
Blogger Zoe Winters said...

Oh Erica, don't tease us, the Demon Baby book is the true-life SuperFudge. The world needs it!

3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:51 PM  
Blogger Jude Hardin said...

Crime fiction--everything from James Patterson to Cormac McCarthy.

And Stephen King. I'm currently reading Dumas Key, one of his newer ones, and enjoying it very much.

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