I attended a session at the LDStorymakers Conference presented by Rachel Ann Nunes about writing women's fiction. A point she made, which is applicable to any genre, is how important it is to read. And, not just read in the genre in which you write, but to read all across genres and get a feel for what works and what doesn't. Reading other books not only give us a feel for what's in the market, but also allows us to learn from other authors.
I used to read for pleasure. Not anymore. In fact, I find myself "rewriting" books that I read, thinking about how I might have characterized differently, used different dialogue, or used different words or sentence structures. I also find myself awed by what authors accomplish in the books I read. I love to be surprised when I read something unexpected. I love to read lyrical passages. I love to see how other authors make characters feel real or describe something so well I can see, feel, or taste it. This only happens through reading other books.
I wish I had more time to read because I see so many books I want to read. I've found that if I use my time wisely I can still read a number of books. One of my favorite books is The Hunger Games. I thought about that story even when I wasn't reading it and I still catch myself wondering what will happen to Katniss and Peeta. I also learned a lot from the author, Suzanne Collins, in how she weaved such a fantastical yet realistic story.
I love to read LDS fiction and I think we have so many talented authors in this market. The level of LDS fiction is rising every year. I bought way too many books at the conference last weekend, but I'm so excited to read each one. I'll keep you updated on my reviews.