What Motivates My Reading Choices?

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group

The question being asked this month for March is: Everyone has a favorite genre or genres to write. But what about your reading preferences? Do you read widely or only within the genre(s) you create stories for? What motivates your reading choice?

What Motivates My Reading Choices?

When I was a teenager, I loved reading big fictional stories like Gone with the Wind, Hawaii, Forever Amber, and mysteries, especially those with ghosts.

In my 20s, I added romances, historical fiction, gothics, and everything nonfiction: different cultures, science, how-to everything but especially on how-to improve myself mentally, emotionally, and psychologically. How-to write, how-to raise children, how-to get along with difficult people, how to understand men, how to grow better gardens, how-to make repairs on just about anything. Mysteries and nonfiction outpaced everything I read, though. All of these genres continued through my 30s.

In my 40s, I was reading everything to do with screenwriting: about craft, how to pitch, how to write treatments, and so forth, and reading lots of other scripts. As I had four, sometimes five, different part-time jobs, plus taking care of the house and the family, plus I was writing whenever I wasn’t working, I had little time for any real recreational reading.

In my 50s, I was reading textbooks and the classics, poetry, and any other literature assigned. I was back in school, taking piles of literature classes, and writing lots of papers. I was too tired to read much of anything not assigned. Though, I will admit, during vacations and holidays when the homework was done, I would read about mystics, being an intuitive, how to grow my psychic skills, about dragons and faeries. I took a year-long class that met once a month that unlocked and place in the forefront my intuitive skills that had been there all along and had been revealing themselves in the past decades.

I will say that my own writing changed immensely because of those classics and all the other literature assigned, which I never would have picked up on my own. As a result, both my writing skills and my literature knowledge went broader and deeper, at the same time.

Now in my 60s, I’m in a library book club where I’m reading literary best-sellers, and I’ve returned to my first real love—mysteries. I’m still reading the nonfiction books where I can raise my vibrational energy, grow my psychic abilities, and about science where other entities can live beside us—it really is all about the vibrational energies.

I continue to be fascinated with dragons and faeries and have a huge collection of books about both. Since I’ve written a book that has a dragon—Grendel’s Mother—even though she, the dragon, doesn’t have a huge role, I’m planning a book that features faeries as a culture living amongst humans and having to connect with them…for reasons of…well, I’m not revealing that plotline right now. <wink>

Because I know too much about how mysteries are constructed, I love a good mystery that can surprise me and keep me hooked page after page. They’re rare books.

I loved reading The Martian. That book was a page turner for me. I loved the science. Another page turner is Pretty Little Wife, a mystery with a twist because you know who did it right away. The problem is that the body disappeared and now even the killer doesn’t know what happened.

Normally, I’ll skip to the end of any book to see how it ends and then I’m analyzing the plot as I read to learn of its creation. Pretty Little Wife was the first book in a long time where I didn’t skip to the end. I wanted to be surprised.


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!


About Diana Stout

Screenwriter, author, former English professor
This entry was posted in #IWSG, Reading. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to What Motivates My Reading Choices?

  1. nancygideon says:

    I love your by the decade breakdown of reading preferences! I’ve never been able to enjoy How to Write books but can glean a lot through hearing another author speak about their process. I’ve always been an audio rather than a visual learner. Can’t wait to get a peak at your faeries book!! That’s something I don’t write but enjoy reading.


  2. Sarah Foster says:

    It’s sounds like you’ve read a little bit of everything!


  3. Diane Burton says:

    Your reading in your 20s were almost the same as mine. Loved those epics. My tastes have changed as I’ve aged. If I can glean something out of a How-To-Write book, I’ll try it. I keep going back to my favorites: Deb Dixon’s Goal, Motivation, & Conflict and Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Skipping to the end of a mystery is cheating though. Or is it the journey rather than the destination?
    Sounds like you need to write that faerie book. Maybe with a dash of mystery to it.


  5. Rich says:

    What made you choose novels over screenplays?


  6. Diana Stout says:

    Actually, I write both. I’ve published one screenplay so far and have three more to publish. Plus, I have ideas for a couple more. I’m writing novellas right now, a series of seven romances.


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