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Talk it over: Read to write

Don’t be afraid of other books influencing your writing style, urges Jane Wenham-Jones

You often recommend that would-be novelists read a lot and I know this is standard advice. However, I wonder what you think about the risks of sub-consciously absorbing another writer’s style or – worse still – their content. I am writing my first novel and I do find that I seem to be emulating the voice of whoever I last read, or even using their characters’ names. As I am intending to write a trilogy I shall always have a manuscript on the go for some time. I don’t want to give up reading other novels for years on end. How do other writers avoid this pitfall?

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About Writing Magazine

• STAR INTERVIEW WITH LEE CHILD, the multi-million selling creator of the Jack Reacher novels • Writing wisdom from the great Greek thinkers – rules that have stood the test of time • How to make your historical fiction stand out, and top tips on the genre from author Nicola Cornick • Study the short story masters to learn the art of the unreliable narrator • The magazine sleuth - how every magazine tells you exactly what its editor needs

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