Fiction? Or Non-Fiction?

DAY 5 PROMPT: How do the things you read impact your writing? What do you love to read? What do you avoid reading at all costs? How would your writing change if you read more of the things you typically avoid?

I prefer to read non-fiction, but I also enjoy a good fiction book that takes me into a world different from my own.  I keep a list of books as I read them, so I quickly looked at the last two years (35 books). I’m not surprised to see that I read twice as much non-fiction as fiction.

I belong to a book club and I count on my peers to be sure that I balance my penchant for non-fiction with good fiction. There’s nothing I like better than to finish a book and sigh: “This is the best book I’ve read in a long time. I wish there was more.”

I like to read well-crafted books whether fiction or non-fiction. What do I mean by a well-crafted book? It goes without saying that sentence structure is effortless and the story line flows, but what makes a good book good? Characters who fascinate. A story rich in detail.

Take the last two books read by our book club. Ordinary Grace by William Kent Kreuger (Fiction) and Hellhound on His Trail by Hampton Sides (Non-fiction). Both were set in the time period that I grew up in; I related to characters and place and recalled historical events cited in both. Each was cleverly written, with cliff-hangers that kept my interest to the very end.

Books that are long and pedantic bore me to tears. It doesn’t matter if it’s fiction (like Watership Down) or non-fiction (Do Not Ask What Good We Do). And if it’s something I have to slog through, I give up on it. And please don’t tell me about the great book that is number 8 in a series but I have to read all seven books to understand what’s really going on. Each serial book should stand alone.

How might my writing change if I read something unlike the norm for me? If I read more fiction I might find that there’s a novel inside me. I don’t have time for that just yet!

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