Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What I Read vs What I Write: Jeannie's Take

What Do I Write vs What Do I Read?

As the Resident Evil of the Ninja Pea Pod, I'm sure a lot of you picture my bookshelves crammed with books in the horror and dark fantasy genres. You would be correct. I do enjoy reading the likes of Jonathan Maberry, Brian Keene, Stephen King, Joe Hill, Deborah LeBlanc, and my person favorite, Edgar Allan Poe. There are others as well, but this post isn't about name-dropping. It's about why I write dark fiction and why I choose to read the books I do.

Now I've mentioned that I read books and authors similar to my own writing sensibilities. Yes, I write about dark subjects like murder. I make no secret of the fact that I'm a firm believer in torturing my characters. I've also been known to advocate shooting them when they become unruly, but that's beside the point here. Why do I write this stuff? Because it fascinates me. Why does it fascinate me? Because I'm a pacifist at heart and the thought of intentionally harming a living soul (human or animal) in real life sickens me. Writing about psychotic serial killers provides a safe environment for me to explore the mysteries behind truly heinous acts of violence and try to understand how someone could be capable of those acts.

And I don't limit myself to just the horror or dark fantasy genres. I also read thrillers, mysteries, suspense, steampunk, science fiction, young adult (Thanks to M and A for pushing me into that section of the bookstore), romance (Yes, you read that correctly), comedy, general/literary fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Basically, if it has words, I'll read it. I even find dictionaries and thesauruses interesting. I don't discriminate with my reading. If it catches and holds my attention, then it's worth reading because I usually learn something in the process. Maybe it's something as broad as a concept or a story structure and maybe it's as mundane as a new word that sends me scrambling for a dictionary.

I just like to read. It keeps me occupied. I get in trouble when left to my own devices (just ask my husband about the recent pumpkin obsession that's taken over our kitchen). And if I don't write then I also get in trouble (see aforementioned pumpkin obsession). Reading or writing, I have an insatiable need to understand the world around me and that's why I'm here.

Now...if I can just figure out what to do with all this leftover pumpkin. While I do that, be sure to check out M's guest spot at the Court Street Literary Collective blog and prepare yourself for A's Pea Prompt post next week. I'm sure she'll giving a guided tour of the pod. Just watch out for the zombie peas hiding in the corner...

One more thing: The Ninja Peas have a theme song -- an awesome original jazz arrangement from a talented artist, C Tann Starr! Thanks, CT!!!!!


  1. J, I totally agree with your sentiment about why you write. The whole fascination aspect. It's that exploration of a person/action you'll never be/do. I think that's why I admire writers whose characters make me want to throw the book against the wall in hopes that it will kill them somehow, despite what the writer had planned for them. Haha

  2. Excellent post, J. You have an admirable grasp on why you do what you do--certainly less meandering than myself. That is why you are Sensei. The dark light that guides. Awesome.

  3. Thanks, A! I aspire to be thrown against a wall. Uh, wait... That doesn't sound right. ;)

  4. So I'm like the Gothic fairy godmother, M? lol

  5. Yes! Exactly. A gothic fairy god mother. (Notes that in J's resume). Love love love the theme jazz tune by C Tann Starr! More awesomeness.