We all have our favorite authors (and some of you have read and enjoyed my stuff), but the question is…
If we, as authors, are supposed to “read a lot and write a lot” – not necessarily in that order – to improve our craft, then it stands to reason we should be, well…
I read a lot, but probably not as much as I should.
Allow me to explain.
I read a lot of new authors. People who need the help that I can give them. People who need basic improvement.
I read other stuff, but mostly I do my reading in critiques. That’s where the biggest volume takes place.
What I bring to the table is an impatient reader who likes detail sometimes, likes the story to move along, and doesn’t mind dwelling on things that are important. What I referred to as a lazy reader. You have to hook me and keep me.
If I am going to improve as an author, I need to read other authors, maybe, who are not like me.
So, if you’ve read my stuff or not, who would you recommend that I read? You can pick one author or three, but I would like:
- a specific book you read
- why it was important to you as opposed to your eighth grade English teacher
For example, recently Jenny wrote about how Interview With The Vampire really made her take a new appreciation of character development in the story. BTW, that post caught the eye of Anne Rice, author of Interview With The Vampire, who then posted about it in her – Anne Rice’s – Facebook page. How cool is that? (I did not read that book. I saw the movie. Click HERE to see he post that Anne Rice liked and made Jenny subsequently freak out.)
Anyway, I want your recommendations. Here three of mine.
- Bill Cosby, his LP from 1968 “To Russell, My Brother, Whom I Slept With” I watched as my older brothers and sisters laughed at this comedian who told funny stories about his life growing up, and it impressed me as a child that comedy was a powerful device. A record is just an audiobook, after all. It counts.
- Mark Twain, “How To Tell A Story And Other Essays.” Not the stuff we were forced to read but his speeches and comments were what drew me to Twain. Then I saw that Bill Cosby was the modern version of this classic storyteller, and that good, funny writing could tell the rules to fuck off and still be amazing. Erma Bombeck, Dave Barry, and a lot of others, would write in a similar style, but the original was the best. And he could be deathly serious at times, too, which I didn’t appreciate until much later in life.
- Stephen King, “A Change Of Seasons,” specifically “The Body” opened my eyes to deep personal emotions in writing that anyone can connect with. It was my first exposure to King’s writing and I almost didn’t read it. A friend recommended it, and I said, “Aw, I’m not into scary crap, and his movies suck.” (I was thinking Carrie, Cujo). The Shining would become one of my favorite movies and King would become a favorite author, even though he still writes a lot of stuff I don’t like. Maybe I should read more of him, but The Body hooked me and kept me and I gained an appreciation of what it is to be a writer.
So those are my recommendations
What are YOURS?
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Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi: an italian misadventure.” Click HERE to check out his other works.