Read What You Love, Love What You Read (And Write)

Guest Post by Gloria Marlow

medium_8468101322I have a confession. My reading material is far from lofty. It always has been, and I would hazard a guess it always will be. I haven’t read most of the books considered “classics” and most certainly can’t discuss the ones I did read when I was in high school decades ago.

You see, in high school, I was quite busy devouring books by my favorite authors. Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney, and Mary Stewart to name a few. I didn’t really have the time or interest to read Orwell, Salinger and Bradbury.

For many years after becoming an adult, I was rather ashamed of this fact. I wondered if I could really be a writer if I hadn’t at least attempted to read Hemmingway or Melville. After all, how could I possibly know anything about writing if I had never finished a book by those considered “masters of the craft”?

Lately, however, I’ve been thinking about the classics I did read. The Scarlet Letter, The House of the Seven Gables, Ethan Frome, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Rebecca (and du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn), The Great Gatsby, the plays of Shakespeare and some Dickens.

What I’ve come to realize is that all the required books I read had one thing in common with the books I chose to read on my own. Romance. Whether reading it or writing it, I love romance.

Judging from my reading list, I particularly love gothic romance. I love it when the dark brooding hero, innocent heroine, house filled with secrets and peril, and some hint of the paranormal come together to transport me to another place and time.

That leads me to another confession. My reasons for reading and writing aren’t any loftier than the books I choose.

I read to be transported, to become someone different, somewhere else, at some other time for just a little while. I write hoping to do the same for some other reader out there. A teenager, a housewife, a harried secretary reading on her lunch break, people just like me, who might not know much about the “masters” but know about their favorite authors.

One of the first pieces of advice we writers get is “write what you know”. I would add “read what you love”.  Know the kinds of books you read. Write the kinds of books you love.  If you write what you read, you’ll love what you write.

About The Author:

Gloria Davidson Marlow is the author of several romantic suspense novels, including Sweet Sacrifices and soon-to-be-released When Swallows Fall. She resides in Northeast Florida with her husband, works as a paralegal at a local law firm, and spends as much time as possible with her three grandsons. Visit her blog or her website to learn more. You can also follow her on Twitter.
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About melissafoxwords

After being rationed books by my parents like most kids get rationed candy, I turned to writing to tide me over between fixes. Having lived in the suburbs of the Mid-West, desert of the Southwest, and foothills of the Rocky Mountains, I'm now living on an island in the Puget Sound with my husband and dogs.

5 thoughts on “Read What You Love, Love What You Read (And Write)

  1. lizkflaherty says:

    I enjoyed this post (my HS reading mirrors yours) and especially liked being reminded to “read what you love.”

  2. Ah…Gothic romance… I can definitely relate to that. And those classics you mentioned loving to read, were many of the same I loved as a teen and young adult. Historical and time travel romances have always been my favorites, and now, that’s what I write. I’m not in it for the literary value, either. I just want to entertain and transport my readers into another world. Just like the authors I loved to read did for me.

  3. […] Read What You Love, Love What You Read (And Write) […]

  4. Great post, Gloria – thank you! Exactly how I feel. Read and write what you love. I don’t see the point in forcing yourself to read something if it becomes a chore, no matter what it is. Reading is for enjoyment!

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