Books By C. LItka

Books By C. LItka

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Writing vs Reading


 It shouldn’t be writing vs reading, but it has been that for me. I haven’t been reading all that many books since writing has taken over my creative life.

I suspect that this isn’t the case for most writers. Most writers read a lot of books while they write. Nathan Lowell said in a recent blog post “Reading is a necessary key to writing for me. Over the years I’ve learned that if I’m not writing, I’m probably not reading.” And I know of other authors – indeed all of the ones I know, who both read books and write. But for me, it hasn’t worked out that way.

As I see sit, there are several reasons for lack of reading. The first one is that I was motivated, in part, to start writing my own stories again – after spending a decade painting pictures as my creative outlet – because I couldn’t find new books that appealed to me. There are certain modern fads in fiction writing that I simply don’t like. One is the use of multiple points of view and the other, the extensive use of flashbacks. I guess I’m old fashioned in that when I pick up a book, I want to read a narrative, not solve a jigsaw puzzle. Now, I’m sure that there are good reasons why an author might want to jump between characters and time to tell their story, and do it well. Indeed, I can think of stories where occasionally shifting focusing on the activities of different characters works –I love Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey and Maturin series and he does this. I also, barely, tolerated the alternating narrative chapters in the Leviathan Wakes, but by and large, it isn’t a technique I enjoy.

Another factor in my falling out of love with reading is that for all my reading life, I’ve considered myself a science fiction fan. But the type of stories I like were rather specific – planetary romances – which they don’t write anymore, and space opera which almost always means military science fiction these days. While I can’t enjoy the old stories that I loved as a teenager, the new stuff is no better. It seems that the sf background of so many writers and their stories come from movies and TV shows. So much so that I could envision the movie or TV show that inspired their story. In short, a lot of it is thinly disguised fan fiction, that includes all the unrealistic shortcuts that movies and TV shows take with science fiction. Of course, I’ve read in other genre – mysteries; until I got tired of them always being about murder, sea stories; but new ones are rare these days, fantasy; until I grew weary of the same basic story being recycled and magic that can do anything the author needs done. Not to mention decent series books that become repetitious after a while.

So instead of reading, I began to spend my time daydreaming up stories of my own and writing them down. Reading stories at the same time was, I felt, a distraction for me. One I didn’t need with my own stories in my head.

Still, all that said, I want to read more, and I have been making more of an effort to do so over the last several months.


  1. Blogger, eh? OK.
    Where can I find your work?
    I've blogged about writing ruined reading, mine at least. I used to read a hundred books a year. Now? One or two. I'll start dozens, pulled down free and quit them like they burned my eyes.

    1. Entered through wordpress on my phone... found all your books here, on the web proper.

    2. Thanks for commenting, sorry I that I didn't see the comment until now, I usually check the blog every day. Anyway, as I probably mentioned in the posting, ideally my method of writing is to first day dream up the story before I start to set it down in words. I think about it at the odd moments, or when I'm riding my bike, walking or when I'm trying to fall asleep (usually works well), so that I really don't need another story running through my mind. And while I don't really fear I'd start to borrow ideas, it's a distraction. Plus, it's hard to find books I like these days, though I'm trying at the moment, because I realize so much has been written that's gone unnoticed by me. We'll see how long that lasts. I've got a new story in mind...