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Inspiration problem

Discussion in 'Novels & Stories' started by AlexanderKira, Nov 26, 2011.

  1. AlexanderKira

    AlexanderKira Minstrel

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    I have made a rule for myself, 'I am not going to write a fantasy novel until I have read enough fantasy to become well versed'. I believe that I have done that, but see, I am only 16, so I haven't grown up reading the "classics", instead I have been reading the "fresh" new fantasy. So the 'fresh' fantasy might be doing something to me, but I have no want to start reading the ol' fashioned fantasy novels. The only ones that I want to, or have, read are Donaldson, Hobb, Salvatore. That's it. Is this going to be a problem?
     
  2. Kelise

    Kelise Maester

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    Quite a few authors (Stephen King most famously, I suppose) say you have to read your genre extensively, and 60-80 books a year in general, for quite a few years.

    I don't know what this means in regards to classics vs new fantasy, but just three authors... Hrm.

    There's heaps of threads here in the Novels & Stories section where everyone has listed heaps of their favourite books and authors. Perhaps you could look through to see if anyone has mentioned your three, then see what else they've mentioned. Chances are, they'll be similar and you could check them out.
     
  3. Amanita

    Amanita Maester

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    Well, I don't know. Many of the most famous authors of earlier times didn't even have the means to do anything like that. Books were rare and expensive back then and hundreds of fictional works weren't to come by. And yet, some of their books are classics and still being cherished hundreds of years later.
    This isn't supposed to mean that reading isn't necessary for writing well, but I would never force myself to read (and spend my time and money on) something I'm not interested in. I'm not counting the books I read either, but I've been brought up with many books, therefore it probably were been quite a few. ;) Most of them in my own language, though
    Getting familiar with language, grammar and other aspects of the craft of writing used in different ways doesn't require hundreds of books to draw from. Most of this can be taken from books that aren't fantasy as well.
    Drawing inspiration from other sources such as actually doing things in real life ;) or doing research with non-fiction books on matters important to the story are very important as well.

    To me, writing fantasy doesn't mean memorising everything, other people have written before and putting it together in "new" ways but being able to freely create worlds, cultures, magic systems etc. of my own as I've been doing almost since I remember. Maybe a very childish approach and I might never get published but so be it.

    Don't get me wrong please: I like to read and I do believe that reading is important, but I'm against any kind of "force" in this aspect. We all have plenty of staff we have to do for school, college, or work and I don't think reading in my free time should be similar.
     
  4. AlexanderKira

    AlexanderKira Minstrel

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    star, I was saying that the only 'classic' authors I have read were those three, I love Rothfuss, G.R.R. Martin, Jordan, Gail Martin, Scott Lynch, Joe Abercrombie, etc. I was thinking, that you were thinking, that I have only read those three, aha.
     
  5. Sparkie

    Sparkie Auror

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    I believe that if one wants to write well, then one must read incessantly. There is no reason nor excuse for a writer to avoid reading.

    Alex, (is it okay if I call you Alex?) when I was sixteen I had a different preference in books than I do now. Sure, I loved fantasy, but as I matured, so did my taste in literature. Perhaps you'll find that, with time, your desire to read older, respected fantasy stories will grow. Until then, I suggest reading and writing what interests you. Not many teenagers have the experience to write the next great fantasy epic, but that doesn't mean you don't have talent. One day you may indeed become a sucessful author. And i'm glad to see you're serious about it, as it seems you are aware that you need to be 'well versed.'

    Just give it time. Practice writing what you know and like. And when you can, push the boundaries of what you enjoy. You'll do fine, Alex. I know I'm rooting for you, and i'm sure most other contributors to this forum are too.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2011
  6. Ghost

    Ghost Inkling

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    I not sure I'd consider someone "well-versed" in fantasy if they skip whole generations of it. However, I don't think that means you're not ready to write fantasy. Just do what you want. I hope you're reading other genres besides fantasy. When limiting the scope of what fantasy you read, I think it's more important to read widely outside the genre than it would be otherwise.

    How is it an inspiration problem? If it's giving you trouble, what harm does it do to read the classics? I get that you loathe Tolkien for some reason, but that doesn't mean there aren't others you can try. But if you don't get anything out of reading a novel, aside from feelings of nausea and despair, then don't read it. :p

    I find the idea that classic authors, particularly from mid-1800s and early 1900s, didn't read much hard to swallow. Books and stories were an important means of entertainment. Books could sometimes be bought for a penny, and then there were the infamous dime novels. There were serializations and short stories in literary periodicals. Your correspondence was done via letters. I don't necessarily think there was more reading, but I think you had to be more engaged when you read. (Ugh, realized I was looking at this solely from an American perspective. I'm not sure how it played out anywhere else.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2011
  7. AlexanderKira

    AlexanderKira Minstrel

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    Oh I do love reading other than fantasy, mostly philosophical like Ayn Rand. Thank you very much Sparkie! :D
     
  8. writeshiek33

    writeshiek33 Sage

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    always read as much as you can especially the genre you want to go into myself being a dyslexic find that i have to study grapes of wrath by john stienback to improve my writing skills
     
  9. Amanita

    Amanita Maester

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    I've been thinking of authors living a few centuries earlier than that. ;) And I didn't claim that they didn't read anything, but that the sheer numbers mentioned here weren't possible.
     
  10. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    It's not that you have to read the "classic" works in the genre. I think with sufficient talent, an author can succeed without having done so. That said, there will always be a gap in your knowledge of the genre, and it is a gap that most of your readers won't likely share. In my view, writing in a genre where your knowledge is incomplete and your readers are more aware than you as an author can be problematic. That said, a sufficiently talented author could write a good fantasy novel without ever having read any fantasy. Such authors are, however, rare.
     
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