Should aspiring writers read award-winning fiction in their genre?
(Thanks to Nissa Annakindt for making me think about this intriguing question)
Here's some possible benefits:
~Blazes new territory, either in content or style
~Challenges commonly-held perceptions
~Demonstrates high ideals (e.g. self-sacrifice)
On the other hand, here's some reasons why I sometimes have to force myself to read award-winners:
~May not offer instant gratification. In other words, they take work to read.
~Sometimes they have depressing or tragic endings.
~Older "classics" are harder to read because of older styles of writing
~May impose specific beliefs/worldviews on the reader
If you are writer aspiring to an award-winning status, you should definitely read award-winners. But what if you want to write entertaining stories? Would you be better served reading best-sellers in your genre?
Confession: I have many more best-sellers on my reading list than award-winners. I'm currently writing a young adult science fiction, and I've only read 4 Nebula or Hugo winners.
What do you think?
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