Apparently, reading is good research for writing. Who knew? Well, a bunch of people, I guess. Anyway, I love to read and should probably do more of it. Reading good stuff – and bad stuff, for that matter – is inspirational for my writing. I remember having a conversation with a friend about the Harry Potter series. She wondered why I found it so compelling (for those of you unaware, I am a complete Harry Potter fanatic). I went on for a while about the depth of the story – clearly, Ms. Rowling has reams of notebooks full of information and ideas about the whole wizarding world and its population. I chatted about the timeless, human themes – good vs. evil, the heroic journey, love and romance, mythic beasts and metaphor. The last thing I said was that I loved the series because I wanted to be able to write like J.K. Rowling. That was the one thing that my friend didn’t get – that wasn’t something she thought about when she read books. I was surprised. I thought everyone read books because they wanted to write books. Apparently not.
So, now that I’ve got a really good (well, I think it’s really good) idea for a novel I’m reading for research. Not just non-fiction and archival sources – part of the story is set in the 1930s. I’ve started reading mystery novels published in the 1920s and 1930s to get a feel for the literature and language of the period. Reading is very good for writing!