Courtney Milan on Inspiration ~ & a chance to win Trial by Desire!

How Reading Affects Writing

I’ve heard some authors say that they can’t read in the genre they’re writing as they’re working on a book, for fear it will change how they write.

For me, that’s exactly why I read them. It’s not that I think my books won’t be changed by what I’m reading–but, rather, that I think they will be changed, and in exciting, unpredictable ways. If I read something in a book that infuriates me (and I sometimes do), it will sometimes be slipped into a book. If I read something in a book that I think is really well done, it motivates me to look at my own book. Everything I read shifts the point of view that I’m reading from, and when I return to my own writing, I find that the slight shift from my normal center is exactly what I need to see how to solve my own problems in writing.

For my upcoming book, Unveiled… I got the idea when I read a historical romance in which the hero and heroine had a somewhat dodgy wedding ceremony. “But!” I spluttered. “But what if this marriage is later invalidated, and their children are made illegitimate! What a terrible thing to do to a child!”

And as every romance author knows, “what a terrible thing to do to a child!” is the same thing as “what a wonderful way to start a book!”

Don’t get me wrong–I get ideas from a lot of places. Right now I’m reading a memoir of a mostly blind man who describes the world in such beautiful ways that it makes me see the world around me with a different eye. And I can feel that writing it makes my interaction with my hero and heroine’s world deeper. I start thinking of how motion would feel and taste and smell, not just how it would look.

So where do you find your inspiration? When you read a book, does it change how you see the world, just for a little bit? What was the last book you read, and what did it do for you?

Tell me, and one commenter will get a copy of Trial by Desire–and you can see if it shifts how you see the world.

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