Creative Writing

Read Outside of Your Interest

Hey guys, sorry for such a long dry spell on entries, but here’s one that’s been sitting on the back burner for a while.

I’m someone who rigidly sticks to a specific genre or specific genres in my reading, but I decided to take that leap into something outside of my reading interest, and I’ve found that it can really jump-start the creative organs, especially in cases where I’ve needed to read up on something in order to write a story about it.

Normally I don’t care for non- fiction books at the best of times, but I learned what seeds of a decent story can take root when I draw from real-world material. Over the summer I took the plunge and read Amir D. Aczel’s Present at the Creation, a book on the history of the Hadron Collider at CERN and that of particle physics, and on one of my manuscripts it really helped me to put everything about my world into a creative context that at the same time seemed plausible and had a logic unto itself.

Real-world history too is a great resource, as much as current events. A lot of writers will advise reading up on current events, which you can find in newspapers, or more commonly nowadays, news websites, and books that take more in-depth analyses. I had an idea for a science fiction story that was inspired by the real-world diamond conflicts in Sierre Leone and other countries in Africa, so I read Blood Diamonds by Greg Campbell to acquire a better understanding of how exactly the conflict came about, and what made a blood diamond so bloody. And even so, if I never write that story, my time certainly wasn’t wasted educating myself on a subject that gave me a better understanding of the world I live in. This, I think, is partly why I was so constantly inspired with all kinds of little stories when I was in college, so if in your post-graduate life you find your imagination dried up, have a peek at something you might’ve only read in college.

Take the plunge and have a read in something outside of your interest, and you just might think up a new and awesome story idea, or figure out how to work out a kink in your story chain that wasn’t working so well before. But I would also advise, if you’re going to read in a subject that you typically avoid because you find it dry or uninteresting, make sure you pick out a book in that subject that’ll meet you half way to your own comfort level: otherwise you’ll definitely tune out and never finish the reading the thing.


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