Mood is one of the most important keys to inspiration and tone in fiction. I have to be in the right mindset and mental voice to produce something that flows with the rest of the story. I always thought I was quite normal and accomplished this by music or rereading my own work.
I was wrong.
I read. Copiously. Excessively. Sneakily. Sideways. In every minute I can cram another word in. Late last week, I was reading and it was inspiring me on my own fics, per usual, and it finally clicked what was wrong with Safe and why I wasn't able to get the next chapter written. There is only one fic I read that puts me in the right mood to write it.
Stories inspire me. When I wrote In This Wood, I kept the movie Hoosiers almost on permanent checkout from the library because it always put me in the right space. When I was writing fanfiction like crazy, I would work on different fics based on what I was reading. No wonder I can't seem to keep myself limited to a project or two until they're done. I'm cutting my own legs from under me every time I pick up a book.
So, as promised, I'm about to do some serious violence to my readerly self and make reading lists. While writing certain projects, I am limiting myself to reading only the things that inspire it. And the Bible. I don't care if it inspires story or not—I need that one.
I'm picking a Christian fiction novel under one pen name, a Liana novella/novel, and a fanfic: Safe. These are it. I can still update backlist, but this is my current frontlist.
How does reading affect your writing? Does it change your mood or writing style? Does it make you want to write something totally different or use different characters?