Over at the Shimmer blog, Elise has written a brilliant post for new writers about the importance of reading broadly, and being aware of what has come before:
When you first begin writing, it’s hard to know what’s new and what’s worn out. People tell you to read broadly and this is one reason why. If you know what’s current in your preferred genre and beyond, you have a better chance of not stepping in the same puddle. If you fully intend to step into that puddle, at least you know how it has been done before and can attempt a new path through it.
Similar ideas to tend to collide and coalesce in the slush pile; some weeks, the slush seems to be of one distinct flavor, wherein everyone has decided to write about one topic, be it birth, death, or deals with the devil. It’s the genre hive mind hard at work–what power might we harness from that mind?
This is something I’m sure my students are sick of hearing me repeat (i.e. ‘Read, dammit! Read!’) but Elise does it in more depth, and far more eloquently. Read the rest of the post — which includes a brief analysis of the opening to my Shimmer story, ‘Gutted’ — here.