Books that stop you editing

10, November,2006

Recently I picked up a much touted ‘International Best Seller’. I had my eye on it for quite a while and when the haul from my last birthday included a book voucher I decided the time was right. I marched down to Dymocks and bought it – it was rubbish (and no it wasn’t the DaVinci code, which I quite enjoyed).

The author could actually write, unfortunately, she had hidden her quite excellent 300 page story, in a 1000 page tome.

On the upside it led to the most productive writing /editing period of the past 6 months. I pondered on this, then looked back at my reading over the past 12 months. Here is what I found.

In the good pile are Terry Pratchet, Jasper Fforde and Neil Gaiman. They all stop me in my tracks, but their books are relatively short and they spark off my imagination, so when I finish I feel inspired to write.

Not so good are Epic Fantasies, which I love to read, but are not what I write. They suck me in and they take so long to finish (damn trilogies). I am reading Russell Kirkpatrick’s Fire of Heaven trilogy at the moment (3 x 500 pages) and I can feel my productivity slipping.

In the middle is Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus Trilogy. It kept me from putting pen to paper for a while, but I was ready to write when I finished.

Funnily enough the worst is Robert Rankin. After finishing one of his novels I am no good for anything for about 2 weeks. I have no idea why, maybe it’s shellshock.


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