I realized some time ago, there are novelists and novels that I MUST avoid while writing. Now, by “writing,” I don’t mean just sort of sitting around, drinking your morning coffee and mulling over some vague story line. I do mean working for a length of time at the key board, or at the writing board, or at whatever, composing, writing, totally immersed in the narrative.
What do I avoid…first and foremost? When I’m writing I absolutely cannot read anything by William Faulkner . His style is, simply put, too powerful, too overwhelming. If I read Faulkner, I start using words, like bequeathed, doomed, and travail. It’s ridiculous.
I also avoid Dostoevsky. When I read Dostoevsky, I get skittish, nervous. I start sweating for no reason. I become paranoid. I avoid him at all costs.
I try to avoid badly written novels. For instance, the Fifty Shades of Gray series. Terrible writing. I picked one up at our local BAM bookstore and started reading. It’s abominable, and I’m not speaking of the sex. I, for one. think sex is perfectly fine in a narrative, but please, write it with some feeling, and without cliché after cliché, thank you very much.
I also avoid If possible books about writing. When I’m writing, I don’t necessarily want advice. Yes I may need it, but I’ll get to it later.
So what about you? Do you consciously avoid certain works while deep in the writing game? And why so?