Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Read more non-fiction

It's really important to read as a writer. That's one of the first things you learn (and as a serious writer, probably had some initiative to do anyway).

But often we focus on our genre, or at least fiction. We might read a book on the craft of writing.

May I just suggest reading more non-fiction? And not just for research. To learn about new things and nothing more (of course if you get something for a novel out of it--great! But not going into it for something is the key).

I've been reading more non-fiction lately. Not as much as fiction, but a lot more than before. Some of them are Shipwrecked at the Bottom of the World by Jennifer Armstrong, Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman, Hole in My Life by Jack Gantos, 7 Habits for Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey, and I'm currently reading Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me) by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson.

The first three are great because they tell real stories about real people. I mean, how great is that? The characters are already three-dimensional because they're real, and the plot never has holes, because this stuff actually happened. The last two are great for helping you with your own life, and give you a bit of edge into character psychology.

I've found in my college experience that learning more real-life facts has inspired me in my writing. Several things I've learned in my coursework from the general education classes has helped me in developing my own stories through themes, characters, and even titles.

We can't always be in school (and thank goodness, it's exhausting and costs a fortune!) but we can always be self-educating, which often comes through these non-fiction reads.

How much do you read of non-fiction? Have an opinion of it?