A writer’s inspiration.

It’s been too long since I posted. And, really, a blog is supposed to have regular content, after all. Well, I think my sub-conscious is trying to tell me something.

I discovered yesterday that I had bought four books within two days. Four non-fiction books, none of which were inexpensive. Why did I do that? Even though I love reading, I haven’t bought new books in quantity for years. And then they’re usually fiction. Part of this is because I am still enjoying access to my existing book collection after some years with it packed up in boxes. Part of it is because there are other things I need to spend money on, like food, rent and electricity.

But I’m also trying to be a writer of fiction. And writers need inspiration.

Fiction writers also research. It was out of curiousity that I went looking for reference works in a local book store last Saturday, although I was also looking for a gift for my father. What I found was a book exploring human armour down through the ages. This appeals to me. Purchased. Then there was a book about wierd science stories, specifically about some of the lesser known chemical elements. Again, this appeals to me. Purchased. And then I saw a book about the history of the place I live in, including old photos and even maps. Win.

That’s three. The fourth? I buy a coffee at StarBucks most mornings on the way to work (yes, I like it) and I noticed a few weeks ago that Howard Schultz had published a book about Starbucks and was selling it through his stores. Which makes sense, really, rather than or perhaps as well as normal bookstore distribution. I had seen it for sale for several weeks and after my purchases on the weekend I realized that I really was curious enough to buy this. Actually, I realized that if I was still curious about it when it disappeared off the counter, I didn’t want to be put to the trouble of finding it. So, it was purchased.

I realised later that all of these books are for feeding my inner writer. I write hard fantasy and that needs good research as well as good story telling. It’s all very well re-reading a favourite author and hoping you’ll be able to copy his or her style, but you need other story-telling styles as well, of only for the contrast. And I’ve read enough fiction where the research is plainly inadequate – to a mere reader, no less – that I don’t want to make that mistake myself.

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