I was doing an exercise in a seminar I was taking. I was given an article; a long, seemingly rambling, however, well executed nonfiction piece on the downfall of certain companies. Just writing that sentence feels painful. Why did I waste my time?
But, see, it turned out not to be a waste of time. In a lecture, recently, a similar topic came up and I was able to give a reasonable discussion about how this downfall relates to the business of writing.
Wow – I did not see that coming.
That is something I’ve always done, however. I’ve actively added to my body of knowledge by reading far and wide, not limiting myself just to my genre or even just to fiction.
What I’ve found is that this adds depth to my characters, validity to my narrative, realism to my stories. I’m don’t limit myself, therefore, my characters seem more authentic.
In $I.00 Stories, I developed the homeless man from articles I’d read about mental illness and the homeless. In West End, I was able to add more depth to my character having read psychological texts on motherless daughters.
My advice is always – read far and wide and don’t limit yourself. Read when you’re waiting in line at starbucks, read before bed, read when you wake up, or you’re waiting to pick up your kids, or meet your friends. Get off of facebook and twitter or stay on those sites and subscribe to the digital magazines.
I hear people say – I don’t have time to read. Yes. You. Do. Find where you’re losing time and capture it.