Although I read a little bit of everything, there is one genre that I read more than any other. I don’t mind reading poetry and I enjoy sci-fi novels or the occasional fantasy. But YA fiction is easily the majority of what I read. Especially romance. Why? Because that is what I write. Because I want to be published as a YA fiction author. There are undeniable benefits of reading the genre that you write.
5 Reasons You Need to Read the Genre You Write
1. You Will Learn from the Good
I have read some amazing YA fiction over the years. And every time I read a really good one, I learn something about being a YA author. I’ve learned a lot about what needs to included in YA fiction. In YA romance for example, the story is so much better if there is conflict before or during the main character’s journey of falling in love. The novel is richer and more meaningful if the couple struggles to stay together or struggles to get together. A good YA romance is not about a happy-go-lucky couple that falls in love on page one and lives happily ever after. It doesn’t always have to be a love triangle, but reading a lot of YA romance has taught me that the best novels include struggles that keep the couple from getting together or struggles that try and break them up.
This is true for any genre. A fantasy writer that reads mostly fantasy will learn just how important it is to create a believable universe. And reading fantasy would help them see important elements of creating their own world. Dystopian writers who read dystopian books will gain a better understanding of how to structure governments and incorporate politics and social commentary into the societies they create. As you read the genre you write, you will have a better understanding of the elements that ought to be included in your novel.
2. You Will Learn from the Bad
In reading mostly YA fiction, I’ve also read some really bad books. But this has still been a beneficial experience. I have learned what not to do. More than anything, I’ve learned not to be cliché. Reading poorly written books has taught me that, although it can be difficult, it is necessary to be unique and original. I have also learned that It is important to take the time to do the job right. Characters need to be fully developed and plots need to be carefully thought out. Plot holes and underdeveloped characters confuse and annoy readers. Reading bad examples of the genre you write will teach you what not to do.
3. You Will Get Ideas and Inspiration
One time I read a novel with a character who had stopped speaking as a child and did not speak again until the end of the novel. I was fascinated by the idea of a main character that did not speak. I loved the way this author enabled the character to communicate with facial expressions and the occasional written message. While I have yet to write a novel with a character that doesn’t speak, it’s definitely something I will do. I even have a general idea thought out. Keep in mind that it’s important not to borrow too many details. But there is nothing wrong with gleaning bits of inspiration from other authors. When you read the genre you write, you will gain ideas for your own novels.
4. You Will Be a Better Writer
This can certainly be a benefit of reading anything. I don’t think I’ve truly ever read a book that has taught me nothing about being a better writer. But my writing improves the most when I read YA fiction. Every book I’ve read has expanded my vocabulary and taught me the mechanics of writing. The more I read, the more I learn lessons such as how to construct good sentences and how to place commas and quotation marks around dialogue. But reading YA fiction has given me greater insight in how to write YA fiction. The more YA I read the more familiar I become with how main characters act and speak as opposed to main characters in middle grade or adult fiction. High schoolers flirt a lot differently than adults do. And reading YA romance has given me ample examples of how to write a good kissing scene. As you read the genre you write, you will be better prepared to write that genre yourself.
5. Finding a Role Model Will Inspire You
In high school I fell in love with Sarah Dessen. I couldn’t get enough of her books. She became my role model and greatest inspiration. Every time I read one of her books I had a renewed passion to be a writer myself. I’d close the back cover, finishing yet another one of her books, and think yes, I want to write a book just like this. I want to inspire young readers the way her books inspire me. Of course, I have developed my own voice and writing style but Sarah Dessen has certainly inspired me along the way. Had I not discovered her books, who knows if I would have felt as passionate about being a writer myself. It is a good idea to have someone to look up to, someone you admire, as you chase your dreams. Reading the genre you write will lead you to an author that inspires and motivates you.
If you aren’t already reading the genre you write, I hope this will help you see why it is so important. Reading the genre I write has helped me grow as a writer. As a reader, it is important for me to read all genres because I want to be well rounded, and I enjoy all genres. As a writer, it is most important for me to read the genre I write.
What genre do you read the most?