June 8, 2009

Going Sideways

I caught a bit of an episode of The Nature of Things on CBC, hosted by David Suzuki. For the Yanks, he's like a Canadian Neil Degrasse-Tyson, and if you don't know who that is, I weep for you. The episode was titled "Going Sideways" and talked about scientific advancements in history, and their serendipitous beginnings. Damned fascinating stuff, with pieces on Penicillin, the gramophone, and a bunch of other wild origin stories for technology.

One quote stuck with me as I watched. It basically implied that scientists with a more diverse background in sciences and life experience are more probable to recognize the accidental discoveries they witness. I think that's something that applies to writing as well. As writers, we read, or at least we should. But, if all we read is Stephanie Meyer, then all we'll write is bad Stephanie Meyer.

Writing a story in a specific genre is fine, but you'll do yourself a world of good if you've read stories outside that genre. So when you notice something in particular about a character, setting, or scene, you may be able to approach it with a new point of view thanks to your diverse reading background. That's why I don't limit myself to reading only horror novels. If I did, I'd be missing out on some quality entertainment and also some points of view I otherwise might not infuse with my own.

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