Monday Thoughts on Creativity: Comparison as Development

Oh Monday, why are you so persistent?

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When I read a book, whether it’s in my genre or not, I constantly think about what I would have done differently. I don’t mean that in a critical way. I mean that I wonder whether I would have included certain details, whether I would have expanded some sections, what my own word choice would have been. It’s not a criticism of the author, it’s an exploration of myself. I wonder how different the book would be if I’d written it, what differentiates me from the author I’m reading.

Exploring differences is just as important as exploring similarities, only differences define you more clearly. They draw a line, whether a thin one or a thick one, between you and thousands of others in your genre. Thinking about what a book would have been if someone else had written it, or what a movie would have become if someone else had acted in it or directed it, is all part of expanding your creativity and your artistry. The more you can say, “I would have done it this way,” the clearer your own style becomes. And the more you can say that and still see why the author chose to do it the way they did – well, the broader your view, the more distinctive your own voice becomes.

An Interview with Me – as a Reader

I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed – as a reader – by the lovely Adrianna Joleigh, a fellow fiction author and poet. Check out the interview here: http://bit.ly/10qbAI1. In the interview, I talk about what I look for in a book before I buy it, what I dislike in writing styles, how not to bore a reader, and more.

Check out Adrianna’s whole “Inside the Minds of Our Readers” interview series for tips from other readers on what their preferences are. As an author, you can’t find more valuable tips than directly from readers’ mouths!

eBooks vs. Print Books vs. Audio Books

Instead of preferring one format of book over another, I read all three formats of books for different kinds of literature:

Print Books: I read print books most of the time. I use them for research because I like being able to flip through the pages, but most of all, I love owning classic literature as well as books I’d like to analyze and read in-depth in print format.

eBooks: these are only useful for me if I’m not overly interested in a book or I’d like a collection of writings by one author, but don’t feel like paying a ton of money or having a huge print book around. Needless to say, I have very few eBooks.

Audio Books: I borrow audio books from my local library when I don’t feel that a book is worth all the time it takes me to read it in print. This applies mostly to light or comedic books, but every once in a while, I find a real literary gem. That’s how I found The Quickening Maze by Adam Foulds, an outstanding book in writing style, character development, and psychology. So althought I don’t listen to them often, I can’t knock audio books too much.

Do you have a preference between these three book formats, or do you also use each format for a different type of reading?