Do Not Disturb: Disbelief Suspension in Progress

Ahhh… Finally.

It took two and a half books, but I feel it now. The Muse is happy.

Yes, I write but I’m not talking about my private little world today. I’m talking about everyone else’s.

To be good writers we must read. Let me say it again. MUST read. It is NOT an option.

I had fallen out of the habit and it showed in my writing. I lost The Muse to mundane habits such as M/M erotica and cheap relationship-avoiding two-dimensional characters. My own stories bored me.

Luckily, I recognized it and took steps to correct it.

In this world of Electronic Everything, I read blogs when my office work is slow. I study for the CFP exam via the web whenever possible. I get my news on so I won’t have to wait until after the nightly NCIS marathon to know if the end has begun. All these glowing screens can not replace a good novel. I’ve inadvertently tested it and it just can not be.

It’s enough to make a crazy muse instantly normal and boring. Borrrring!

So, despite my crazy schedule where I could add a full new day to my week and still not have enough time, I squeezed in time to read. I had to or my head would implode and I’d be forced to kill off another cherished character just to startle The Muse into work.

I read Dean Koontz’s “The Good Guy” and it was better than his last couple. One line, about the rain falling at night, inspired an idea for something so different I can’t even pretend to explain how I made the correlation. That’s my Muse, I’m not surprised. She’s contently working on that story while I babble here.

I read “Drawing Blood” by Poppy Z. Brite based on a random recommendation from a barely known online acquaintance. I’m glad I did. Some of her story left me wondering why she didn’t explain better but for the most part it was a good story with very real characters that left me thinking of them when forced to put the book down and work. I picked up three more and added them to the Leaning Tower of Books to Read. I need to find more authors that embrace darkness like she does.

Now, I’m reading “The Bone Garden” by Tess Gerritsen. I read her interview in Writers’ Digest and decided to pick up her book. So far, so good. She grabbed my attention immediately (and that’s hard to do) and she’s keeping it clenched in her fist with a death grip. I’m looking forward to reading a chapter or two once this posts.

That is… if The Muse doesn’t insist on working out why the protagonist and his new hook-up aren’t hooking up in my current project. I know why. I need to write a few scenes with the supporting character on his own to figure him out. Usually I enjoy that exercise, but he’s not speaking to me at the moment, so that might take time.

Besides, this blog post wasn’t simply to ramble incessantly… It was to remind myself that reading is not a leisurely hobby but part of my long-term goals. If I want to write books that readers will devour, I too must devour my share.

No exceptions.

No excuses.



3 responses to “Do Not Disturb: Disbelief Suspension in Progress

  • Carrie Clever

    Good blog. You saw how much mine improved after reading Duma Key. You even said so. You hva eto know what people read to be able to write what they want to read.

  • Jenn

    You know, I never really enjoyed reading until I was 19 or 20. I wrote my first for-the-hell-of-it story when I was 19, and, despite my non-background in leisure reading, it turned out pretty good. Totally amateurish, for sure, but good, for what it was. I mean, by mainstream industry standards. So, I think that it’s possible to write well without following the read, read, read rule. You could probably watch several hours of TV per day and read only one book per year, and still be knowledgable about what a mainstream audience expects from written fiction. They kind of go hand-in-hand–the dramas you see on TV and the books available in the fiction sections of bookstores.

    I think it would be interesting to read something by someone who’s never been exposed to mainstream media. Who’s never watched TV and hasn’t read more than a few books. Just to see what they’d write about, how they’d go about doing it.

  • M.

    That would be me. I avoid radio, tv, and try to keep my nose out of related-genre books as much as possible. I think I still write like everyone else.

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