Chapter 23 – We need to talk about your reading habits

What do your reading habits say about what you should be writing? Just for fun, I decided to use the mysterious powers of the internet to find out.

I used Library Thing to identify some of my more ‘interesting’ reading habits and Wordle to make a word cloud out of the results:

This mash up gave me an instant overview of my literary preoccupations, no matter how weird and wonderful. It was spookily accurate, and much more honest than if I’d written out a list of things that I considered ‘worthy’ of writing a novel about.

The next time you’re stuck for something to write, your current idea won’t come good, or you’re feeling a little bit too curious about the contents of your own head, this is a great exercise to try. Just remember to spend more time writing your novel than — oh, I don’t know — making tag clouds out of your reading habits and posting them on the internet.

I know you SAY that you want to write a literary masterpiece, replete with deathless prose and universal themes of love and redemption. But, if you’ve got a real penchant for the darkly comic and surreal; and are far more likely to be caught reading trashy thrillers about Japanese hit-men and whimsical fairytales about magickal cats — then perhaps you should reconsider your options?

If you love reading it, you’re much more likely to have fun writing it.

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