Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Writers Should Be Readers

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and I wish you a happy and productive New Year. May 2017 be the year that you finally get that book published, or whatever your dream is. I'm doing some serious reviewing and planning, so my goals are more achievable. I wrote recently about Strategic Planning for Writers - I heartily recommend it.

As a writer, it's important to be a reader, for lots of reasons. You need to be more aware of what's out there in your genre and you will be a better writer if you're steeped in good writing that you've read. I read every night in bed, sometimes for too long! I am a voracious reader, and Goodreads just sent me my year in review.

In your planning for next year, make sure to plan to read. I read lots of science fiction, which is my main genre, and some fantasy, but a few other types of books that take my fancy. I also read books about writing, from which I make notes to refer to when I'm editing.

So here are some recommendations from the 65 books I read this year:

  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. An incredibly moving story of a boy's nightmare and how he copes with his mother's cancer. Has now been made into a film.
  • Ambassador by Patty Jansen. I read this last year, but it is the start of a series of books about the human ambassador to an alien government. The clash of cultures is riveting and the characters and settings are so well described you feel you are there. I have gone on to read every subsequent book.
  • The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North. Every time Harry dies, he is born again in the same place as the first, but he gradually regains his memories from previous lives. But some people use this ability for evil ends. Wonderful book.
  • Tusk by Nathan M Hurst. Published in May 2016, I can't wait for the sequel. The science is totally believable (for a non-scientist) and the characters so realistic.
  • Invasion by Sean Platt and Johnny B Truant. This is the start of another series that I started reading last year and read several books in the series this year.  An alien invasion with a twist, looking more at the people on Earth rather than their invaders.
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. An astonishing book about a boy raised by ghosts in a graveyard. Beautiful drawings too.
  • The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge. The quest for truth spawns many lies, and in the close confines of island society lies spread like wildfire. Faith has to grow up fast, defy her mother and convention, and rely on her own instincts and ability to find the truth. Highly recommended.
And some writing books:
  • Book Launch by Chandler Bolt.
  • EDITING the RedPen Way: 10 Steps to Successful Self-editing by Anne Rainbow.
  • Writing the Heart of Your Story: The Secret to Crafting an Unforgettable Novel by C S Lakin.
  • Shoot Your Novel: Cinematic Techniques to Supercharge Your Writing by C S Lakin

I would love to know when you read any of these, or if you have any recommendations.

Ann Marie Thomas is the author of three medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, is out now. Follow her at

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