Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Reading in your genre

I write contemporary romantic fiction and I love reading it. When the book is excellent, it's quite depressing, but when it's not so excellent, it will boost my self-confidence.

I like thrillers and mysteries too, but I find it helps to read in the same genre as I'm writing to get in the mood. I noticed that my sentences became blunter and shorter when I was reading thrillers so my pace speeded up when the scene didn't require it.

I know lots of experienced writers prefer to read in another genre to avoid being influenced by what they're reading. They're naturally worried that the contents might implant surreptitiously in their mind and they'll accidentally pour it out on their manuscript. This worries me of course, but I think this could happen with any genre you read or even watch. An idea, character or scene might sneak in from a murder mystery too and transform somehow into a love scene in your work in progress.

Maybe I'm relying too much on my memory, and I think I will remember what I've read. But I can't imagine not reading in the genre I love and I've got so much to learn from the people that master this genre, I feel it will only help me improve. However, I will go to extremes if I think something might have any similarities with what I've read and sometimes there is not really any resemblance at all, only something that triggered a memory of that book, even something meaningless, like the colour of a wall.

What do you read when you're writing?

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Switch from real life to fiction

I enjoyed the privilege of listening to Julie Cohen at the enlightening Cornerstones' course I was in September. As she taught us countless writing essentials, the recurring motto was "Fiction is Better than Life".

This is the plain truth. As a writer you shape fiction into your dreams. You mould the hero to your tastes, portray unimaginable (or imaginable) landscapes to your needs and you think up the most awkward and unexpected events possible (or impossible).

One of the best things about fiction is that, if things don't work, you simply rewind and change them until they do. If you don't like a character you just get rid of them and make them suffer until you feel satisfied (that sounded quite psychotic, but remember this is fiction). 

In my case, as a romantic writer, men are romantic and actually do romantic things that make your insides go up and down like a yo-yo. They don't give you vacuum cleaners for birthday presents or make you walk home under the rain on your own because they're taking the car for a wash, or prefer to spend your anniversary evening killing zombies on the PlayStation. No, my fictional characters will walk through the desert for the heroine or face a blizzard to get to her.

So yes, Fiction is Much Much Better than Live and I am so happy I have the honour to read and write it. It is my exhaust valve. 

What is so good about your fiction?

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

The Hating Game, brilliant debut novel by Talli Roland


Help Talli Roland's debut novel THE HATING GAME hit the Kindle bestseller list at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk by spreading the word today. Even a few sales in a short period of time on Amazon helps push the book up the rankings, making it more visible to other readers.

Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/hNBkJk

No Kindle? Download a free app at Amazon for Mac, iPhone, PC, Android and more.

Coming soon in paperback.  Keep up with the latest at www.talliroland.com.


When man-eater Mattie Johns agrees to star on a dating game show to save her ailing recruitment business, she's confident she'll sail through to the end without letting down the perma-guard she's perfected from years of her love 'em and leave 'em dating strategy. After all, what can go wrong with dating a few losers and hanging out long enough to pick up a juicy £2000,000 prize? Plenty, Mattie discovers, when it's revealed that the contestants are four of her very unhappy exes. Can Mattie confront her past to get the prize money she so desperately needs, or will her exes finally wreak their long-awaited revenge? And what about the ambitious TV producer whose career depends on stopping her from making it to the end?

I've had the honour to read this prior to its release and it made me smile from the first page to the last. It was witty, original and full of excitement. It's one of those books that makes you feel happy even after you've finished it.

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