I have a confession. Up until I read an anthology of steampunk stories last month by Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant, I had no idea what this genre was about. Once I started reading Steampunk! An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories, I could see why people like this strange hybrid of fantasy, science fiction and historical storytelling. I was particularly moved by a story called Nowhere Fast by Christopher Rowe, which had to do with the negative effects of a world focused on local food and green living. That short story brought up a concern that I also have with the loss of freedom that some types of green strategies pose. After reading this set of stories, I want to read more!
Now, I’ve moved into reading a collection of science fiction and fantasy stories that included authors like Ray Bradbury, Ursula Le Guin, Stephen King, and Shirley Jackson. With this book, my intention was to look more deeply at the various styles of different writers — looking at how they used metaphor or language, to get ideas on what elements resonated with my own style.
Besides entertaining myself, both of these books helped me to do the work of becoming a more critical reader, and seriously consider the style of the stories that I liked the most, as much as their message. This is just the beginning of a new phase of my writing and reading. I’m glad that I took the time to expand my knowledge of writing into short stories, something I tend not to read as much as novels or poetry.
What reading have you been doing with the goal of developing your own style of writing?
What kind of reading would support your writing?