Writing I Avoid–When Writing!

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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?

11 thoughts on “Writing I Avoid–When Writing!

  1. candyyork

    Totally agree on the Fifty Shades comment above – badly written, but amazingly well marketed. They are in fact a lesson for all of us really, to market the heck out of our work because once you capture someone’s interest, you’ll get sales. I don’t want to be a salesperson though, I just want to write, but then I also want to eat, LOL!

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    1. paulabroome427 Post author

      Hmmm, that’s a tough call. Not knowing your level of usage, I’m just a bit reluctant to recommend anything. BUT, I would suggest that you start with some solid “not dense” British or American novels. For instance, “Cranford” by Elizabeth Gaskell is a classic nineteenth novel. Not difficult to read. It’s one of my favorites. Now that I’ve said that. I’m going to check my library for some other titles: old and new. I’ll get back to you on this, okay? Thank you for your trust.
      Oh, if you don’t care for Gaskell that’s okay too! You must be honest. 🙂

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      1. Madeeha

        Thank you for your time in replying and I’m quite fan of Victorian literature.
        Have spent some time in reading Shakespeare.
        Perhaps, you can find sometime and write a post about it.
        Your vast experience in teaching will be helpful for others.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. paulabroome427 Post author

        Hi, Madeeha,
        I wanted to follow up on my response to your request for reading material. I would suggest in addition to Gaskell’s Cranford, that you read Anthony Trollope. His novels are wonderful and so well-written. I’d start with the Barchester Series. Trollope’s my favorite. Also George Eliot, especially her short novel Silas Marner, and if you have a bit of time and love to read, her longer novels: The Mill on the Floss and Middlemarch.
        When it comes to short stories, I’d strongly recommend the following authors: Anton Chekhov, Guy de Maupassant, Hemingway, and Alice Munroe. You can’t go wrong with that bunch! 🙂

        Now when it comes to Shakespeare, I’m very impressed that you read him. I’d like to make one suggestion. I find Shakespeare so much easier to follow when I listen. If you are near a library that has recordings, I’d recommend that you check out a favorite play and then grab hold of a text and sit back and follow along. When I do that, I’m listening to professional actors and the play literally comes to life. It’s a suggestion. Sorry for being so late with my follow-up.

        I love your stories, Madeeha.
        Thank you so much for your posts.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Madeeha

    Many thanks for your detail response and thank you for your kind words of compliment.
    The idea of listening to Shakespeare sounds interesting. Just finished reading “for whom the bell tolls” and I’m planning to read more books by the author.
    Thank you for sharing the information. I’ve noted it down.

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    Reply
  3. tomorrowdefinitely

    Very interesting your post and which writers you avoid when writing. I’m a big fan of Bukowski and Chandler and like their sparse, laconic prose. I might get stoned for admitting this, but I couldn’t put 50 Shades down, yes it was bad and tedious at times, but great pulp-B-movie fiction 🙂
    happy EAster!
    Dagmar

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. paulabroome427 Post author

      Ha! You know it’s amazing how we get pulled into novels, even though the rest of the reading world says–no, no don’t read that. So I say it’s absolutely great that you enjoyed 50 Shades.
      Thanks for the kind words and I hope you have a great Easter as well!
      Paul

      Liked by 1 person

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