Okay, everyone knows that writers need to read. We learn. We grow. We re-energize. We learn markets. We internalize rhythms, techniques. But there are some authors I should just stay away from. And Elizabeth George is one of them. I asked for a banquet of consequences for Christmas. My sister bought it for me, but I was so swamped with manuscripts, I couldn’t get to it. My good writing friend, Paula, read it and loved it. We both appreciate Elizabeth George’s depth and language, her layers and nuances. This last week, I finally got to start the book. Poor me.
Elizabeth George makes me feel like I should sit in a corner and suck my thumb with a dunce hat on. She makes me feel juvenile and inadequate, and I love her for it! Every time I read her, she makes me want to strive harder, to show, not tell, to use small scenes to create big emotions. She has a way of developing fully realized characters with strokes of dialogue, small gestures, telling details. Sigh. It’s a good thing she takes a long time between books, or else my ego might not survive. She writes mysteries, but I consider her more of a literary writer. The story’s characters outweigh the clues. To be honest, I loved her early books, studied A Great Deliverance because I thought it was near-perfect, then had a rocky time for a few of her last books, but with this one, I’m back in reading Nirvana.
I feel the same way when I read a Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson novel. Briggs writes urban fantasy–and who knew a writer could make that almost literary? But for me, she pulls it off. Yes, there are battles, struggles, and plenty of mythology. But once again, Briggs’s use of language and her emphasis on characterization lift urban fantasy into literary status. Everyone has their own likes/dislikes. And I usually avoid literary with a vengeance, but when an author can combine the two–boy, am I impressed!
I hope your favorite authors never disappoint and always inspire you! Happy Reading! And as always, happy writing!