Sunday, 20 January 2013

Writing Fashions

As a child, a huge amount of the reading I did was of 'classics'  - Jane Eyre, Lorna Doone, Dickens...these were the books my parents had received as prizes as children. It surprises me now, to think how few books there were in our home, and how little my parents read. But my mother encouraged us academically, and bought us children's books, and scolded me when she found me reading by torchlight, and praised me the rest of the time and by the time I was a teenager, she helped me to buy a pair of six-foot tall bookshelves out of the classifieds, which I was able to almost fill with books I had collected from charity shops, or bought with book vouchers. I still think it's a poor Christmas or birthday if there is no book-shaped gift.
We now own a huge bank of IKEA bookcases, with the books crammed in, two deep, and my Kindle, nearly a year old now, has its own growing collection of books.
What you read influences your writing enormously, and I see now that the disproportionate number of classics I used to read made some of my teenaged attempts at story writing very old-fashioned. I'm far more widely read now, but have plenty to learn.
I'm currently reading'Vanity Fair', and finally know who Becky Sharp is. The intrusive authorial voice is there in its fullness. Reading this novel, at this age, I can see how jarring and irritating it is, and why the fashion has swung away from this type of writing. It's a thoroughly enjoyable read, though!

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