Originally posted at Shannon Yseult. Please drop by and say hi!
One of the best pieces of writing advice I have ever found was from Joss Whedon, "...fill the tanks, fill the tanks, fill the tanks. Constantly watch things and things you don’t [normally watch]. Step outside your viewing zone, your reading zone. It’s all fodder but if you only take from one thing then it’ll show." (link here.) When asked for writing advice many big name writers will say that in one needs to do two things; read and write. Both as much as possible. Yet this advice doesn't cover the massive amount of entertainment currently available on the market. Learning more about character development, subplots, and pacing does not have to happen in a book. Movies can be just as influential, and much faster to get through. Video games have extensive time investment, yet they keep the players interest for that time. Learning how to do the same thing within a book is one way to keep readers reading.
Even limiting one's viewing to media can take important and influential pieces off the table. What about museums, gardens, hiking mountains, or the joy of experiencing? That's why I love the quote, "fill the tanks." Fill them with everything. Go live, go experience, go watch everything, read everything, see everything, and when you end up back home you'll be ready to put it all into your next masterpiece.