I was asked an interesting question yesterday. If I read something terrible does it inspire me to write – or is it good writing that presses my creative buttons?
The conversation came about because I was talking about the ten books I bought from The Book People for £9.99.
When I bought them I said that if I found two books among them that I enjoyed, I would consider it a good buy. All the authors are new to me and I hoped that I would strike gold.
Well I did!
Of the three I’ve read so far The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty was the gem I hoped to find among the ten. I liked the characters – even the ones I didn’t like if you know what I mean. They were well drawn; nicely rounded and very real and the story hooked me in from the very beginning.
The First Assistant by Clare Naylor and Mimi Hare was readable and enjoyable. Not my usual kind of thing I must admit, but I liked it.
The third of the ten – well I won’t say which it was or who wrote it because I’m not a critic and I’m certainly not going to sit here and slag off anyone who has made it through the minefield to publication. Just because I didn’t like it doesn’t mean it’s a bad book. We all like different things, one man’s meat and all that.
My husband and I have very different tastes in novels. Something I toss aside with an “Ugh, I can’t read any more of that,” he will pick up and read and enjoy. Likewise he’ll try to read something I’ve recommended and pull all kinds of my-god-what-was-she-thinking? faces before quietly slipping it into the pile for the charity shop – unread.
Now back to the third book – my husband asked me last night how I got on with it, so I admitted I didn’t. I gave up quite early on.
He said he was finding it hard going, but would keep reading to see if it picked up. I won’t do that. I’m the same with anything I read be it a short story, a novel or an article, if it doesn’t grab me pretty quickly, I give up and find something that does.
Which brings me to why I asked the question at the beginning. My son asked if reading a bad book makes me want to write something better?
The good book wins every time. Reading something I’m not enjoying crushes my creativity. It doesn’t make me want to write. It makes me not want to write.
So how do you eat yours? Are you inspired to write by a good book or a bad book? How long do you give a book before you give up? Or do you always finish what you start?