What’s the one thing that makes everybody a better writer?

It’s not a trick question!  The first book I remember reading had stories about Little Red Hen and the later boycotted Little Black Sambo. Grimm’s fairy tales gave me nightmares for many years.  The first book I checked out of the library was one of the Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy tales. I remember reading everything in the children’s library (my librarian wouldn’t give me the okay to check books out of the adult library until I did). Because of her rules, I read a lot of biographies which were my favorites for a while and I also read nonfiction including the very dry History of Mankind. I also read comic books and all of the Nancy Drew mysteries. The books that I read over and over again, included Shakespeare’s plays, Great Expectations, Kidnapped, and later, Mahabharata and Herodotus’ Histories.

I’m not sure how much any of these books influenced me but I am glad that at least part of the time I read “good literature”.  My plots might be stronger if Nancy Drew books had influenced my writing the most, but I don’t think I could say the same for my prose. The other day while I was reading twitter posts, I ran across an article, I think it was in The Guardian, where once again an author was reminding writers to read. The advice is so obvious that I think we sometimes forget how important it is. Here’s a list that I like from a few years ago that includes many of my “postmodern” favorites.  Enjoy!  http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/jacketcopy/2009/07/the-mostly-complete-annotated-and-essential-postmodern-reading-list.html


About marystojak

Mary Stojak has published numerous short stories, her latest will be published September 28th in Mystery Weekly.
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