Tag Archives: Over Coffee

How Can You Be a Writer if You’re Not a Reader?

I  read a number of blogs. One blog I regularly read is written by an agent. On this particular occasion there was an informal discussion going on between several agents and editors, chatting about a dichotomy between readers and writers. The gist of it was that there were a whole lot of writers out there that weren’t readers. People convinced that they had a “book or two in them.” Or people who feel you can’t read other’s work in your genre because it will interfere with your “voice”

To me, the question has always been how can you effectively write a book if you don’t read them? Base it on TV? Your fascinating life? Because you’re a professional writer on the job?

I write many things professionally, articles, seminars, notes, and lots of reports. I’m writing something every day and while I don’t have the time to read six or more books a week anymore, I do read something everyday. I read for pleasure. I also read to keep an eye out for what is selling, what’s not, styles of writing, and premises used.

I write creatively and have completed two 90k contemporary romance manuscripts of a trilogy and I’m working on a paranormal trilogy. So, I’d say I had “a book or two in me”. I’ve told stories all my life. I come from a very creative family of oral storytellers and published authors.

My love of books came from reading voraciously throughout my life. As a child my parents and grandparents felt to be well read one must read classic literature first. I was also encouraged to branch out and explore various genres, not just one. Consequently, I regularly read various sub-genres of romance, paranormals, suspense and thrillers, and I love Sci-fi. You could say I’m a mood driven reader. I’m the same with music for much of the same reasons-my parents and grandparents.

There is a perception out there that you can’t read another’s words when formulating your stories-something nonsensical about copying the voice or premise, yada yada. To me, that’s BS. My voice is mine and doesn’t change just because I read someone’s work.

I often think about how coaches train their athletes. It isn’t by ignoring the competition. To the contrary, they watch recorded games of the competition so they can be better. Actors know the style of other actors-they watch them. You don’t think musicians aren’t aware of those who produce the same style of music? Or artists aren’t aware of whose style is similar?

As an author, to know what’s marketable you have to read it. Analyze it. That’s keeping your finger on the pulse of market.

I’m a marketing/promotion rep by profession, to sell my products and people; I have to be familiar with what’s out there. Is their product comparable? Better? Worse? How is it packaged? Any book I write is my product and to market it effectively I have to know what’s selling, what my target demographics are and why.

So, you want to be a author? Read. Particularly in your genre. Know what’s selling out there and why.

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SNOW DAYS AND WRITING

~Sia McKye~snowfall

When I was a kid, snow days were the thing to look forward to.  A time for laugher and fun.  No school, snowball fights, snow forts, and using the shovels—after we had shoveled the driveway—and making snow paths in the yard.  We used these as trenches in our warfare games.  The not so fun part of snow days was my mom and her list of chores.  I now know this was self-defense on her part.  It was a way keep six rambunctious kids occupied.  Needless to say, we didn’t often whine, “I’m bored and I’ve got nothing to do.”  Lord, big mistake and The List came out.

 

Snow days at my house are a bit different.  First, I don’t have six kids, thank God, to keep occupied.  Back then we stayed outside or found adventures of “lets pretend that…” in our bedroom or the third story attic.  I have one child. Uno only goes so far.  Snowboarding outside takes up a few hours, if I’m lucky.  Snowball fights still happen but it’s the kid and me. He has TV, movies, 360 Xbox, paper and art supplies, and shelf full of books.  I have a computer and projects to get done.  Articles to write, books to finish, books to edit.  Did I mention editing? 

 

This is a normal workweek for me. I’m trying to keep to my schedule. Four days of no school and a husband who can’t get to work either. It’s vacation time for them.  I’m in a groove and I have not one but two housebound males wandering around bored.  I am not bored.  I have plenty to do.  I get up from the computer for a short fifteen-minute break and stretch out my tight muscles, go to the bathroom and get a cup a coffee. My mind is on what I’m writing, working out the kinks mentally, and walk back into my office and there’s my husband checking out Fox Sports.  We do have a working TV.

 

 “Oh, I thought you were done?”

 

I’m dumbfounded.  You can tell, dropped jaw, wide eyes, standing frozen in the doorway.

 

He can tell.  “You’re not done?”

 

“Sweetheart, what part of five open tabs on the computer monitor makes you think I’m done?”  I always try for the sweet, reasonable approach first. 

 

So I decide to take out the dog, clear my head in the cold outside air and rid myself of frustration.  It’s beautiful outside.  The type of day that brings back echoes of laughing kids, snowball fights and snow forts.  I feel a pull on the leash and bring my mind back to today just in time to see my poor Great Dane trying to do her business and ever so slowly slide down the incline.  This is her first winter and she’s still learning her way on this white stuff. The look on her face is priceless and I can’t help but laugh. It feels good.  I’m feeling better, which is a good thing.

 

I walk back into the house; breathe a sigh of relief when I see my husband watching TV.  I walk into my office.  And there is my fourteen-year-old son.  At my computer.

 

            “Oh, I thought you were done?”

 

Oh, yeah, it’s gonna be a long week.  Sigh.

 

 

december-2008-jake-and-momI’m married to a spitzy Italian. We have a ranch out beyond the back 40 where I raise kids, dogs, horses, cats, and have been known to raise a bit of hell, now and then. I have a good sense of humor and am an observer of life and a bit of a philosopher. I see the nuances—they intrigue me.

I’m a Marketing Rep by profession and a creative writer. I have written several mainstream Romance novels one of which I’ve out on a partial request.  I’ve written and published various articles on Promotion and Publicity, Marketing, Writing, and the Publishing industry.

Aside from conducting various writing discussions and doing numerous guest blogging engagements, I write a blog, Over Coffee, http://siamckye.blogspot.com/  Each week I promote and share authors’ stories, on the laughter, glitches, triumphs, and fun that writers and authors face in pursuit of their ambition to write—Over Coffee.

 

 

 

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