Some writers can't read while they're drafting. They're afraid a strong character's voice or a unique plot could influence their own. Perhaps because it takes me so long to develop my own ideas that has never been a problem for me. I read through so many books while I'm writing that I take inspiration from many, but none seem to influence me unduly.
However, I'm nearing the end of revising Project Sparkle and have discovered I don't want to read anything like it. I think it's because A. I'm getting ready to send my baby out into the world and I want her to be a special snowflake and B. I'm aware of all of her flaws. I find myself questioning my premise, my characters, and my world-building constantly now. So I really don't want to read another book like it, especially a good one.
On the other hand, remember on Monday how I said I'm going a little stir crazy from working too much? I need something to pull my head out of Project Sparkle, especially before I go to bed at night.
So what to read?
Last week I read David Plouffe's THE AUDACITY TO WIN about managing Obama's presidential campaign. I figured non-fiction might be the ticket. And while I enjoyed reading it, and have wanted to read it for a long time, I found myself lying in bed stressing about politics. So it did work as a distraction, but I don't think it helped me sleep any better.
This week, after The Booksmugglers' rave review of author Jaclyn Moriarty, I read BECOMING BINDY MACKENZIE (titled THE MURDER OF BINDY MACKENZIE in the US). I absolutely loved it, and it's a book quite unlike Project Sparkle in character and story, so it worked very well at getting my head out of my story. However, this time I was dreaming about Bindy.
Perhaps I need to read a bad book? I'm working through one now (to go nameless) which has a fun plot but terrible writing (with each sentence I'm resisting the urge to pull out a red pen).
One of my friends from the course (also in the midst of revising) has been reading Andy Stanton's MR GUM books, which I think is a BRILLIANT suggestion. They're a British series for 6-8 year olds, kind of a cross between Roald Dahl and Monty Python ("The truth is a lemon meringue!"). Very different from what I'm doing, hysterical, and no stress about the stories' outcome.
Can you read and revise? Read and draft? Any recommendations?