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Wednesday, 22 September 2010
It seems I can't read and write at the same time. And I don't just mean in a literal, physical sense.
If I'm in the middle of reading a good book then my mind will be dwelling, in quiet moments, on those characters and situations. Those are the same quiet moments I really need fill with musings about my own novel, if I'm to sort out my plot holes.
Nothing has brought this to light more clearly than recently reading through the complete collection of Sherlock Holmes stories. Most of them are short stories (concise enough that I can pick one up in bed and finish it before I fall asleep), but there are also a small number of novels. And on the days when I was part way through reading a novel, my brain was occupied with trying to follow the threads of the the mystery to some kind of solution.
I've often said that writing uses the same part of my brain as reading does (the "living in a fantasy world" part...) and this is another example. It seems that if I want to write novels, I can now only read short stories. Thankfully this doesn't seem to apply when I'm in the "editing" phase, so it will only affect about half of my life!
Does anyone have any recommendations for good short stories, now I've run out of Holmes?