OK, so I have finally (well 14 months ago) started to write this 'thing' that I have been promising family and friends since I was 13 - yes, I know, slightly precocious! (Please don't tell Harry I used the !). So, at 52 it has taken perhaps longer than I originally thought. In my defence this thing called life (and work, and parenting etc.) seems to have kept me a bit busy. What I am asking you guys for is what fantasy in the epic/high genre from the last decade should I have absolutely read to ensure I am not being derivative?
What are your favourites, and what must I ensure I haven't missed. I know there will be loads, so I really would value your suggestions. Thanks
BexR, you've done far better than me. I'd reached the grand old age of 61 before I finished the magnum opus that I'd been promising everyone for years. Like you, I guess things like life and having to earn a living got in the way. My manuscript is finally complete and is being edited as we speak. I'm afraid it's difficult for me to advise you about what epic fantasy you should read to ensure you're not being derivative. Although I occasionally read fantasy novels, I'm more of a science fiction addict, which is why I'd recommend reading Peter F Hamilton's Night's Dawn Trilogy, James S.A. Corey's The Expanse series and Richard Morgan's Takeshi Kovacs novels. What are you reading at the moment?
I can't answer your query, Bex, on the basis that it usually takes me most of a decade to catch up on who's the hot new talent everyone's reading (by which point, if I'm really lucky – can't remember the last time I was – the series is complete and I don't get left high and dry with half a story).
But the other side of this coin is that if you haven't read whatever the latest thing is, how can you possibly be derivative? It is only by reading the latest, by tweaking your own work based on it, that your work will become derivative. (Yes, theoretically, you could tweak away from it, but that would still be influence. It's also far harder than it sounds, because psychology.)
Thanks guys, and I know you are right ... I just have a horror of thinking I have come up with something new and realising that someone, who I know nothing about and have never even heard of, let alone read, has already done it, and brilliantly. Take your point Glyn, and thanks, I will post a bit more about where I am at the moment.
I can't recommend anything specific, but what I do is study what's being promoted in Waterstones and is newly published to see what's currently floating about. I do that and use the internet to see what books have won awards in recent years, specifically books from first time published authors.
Then I get a load of them out of the library, and work my way through them. Most I decide I don't like, but as long as I have an idea why that is, I learn something and I get a real taste of different writing styles and ideas. I find it's a great way to research a genre.
I'm not suggesting writing to follow the market, but doing this makes me consider if what I am doing is in any way original or 'fresh' and I also find a few good reads in the process.