When I shared the post from Tales of Grotesque and Dungeonesque, I recalled soemthing author Michael Moorcock said about writing and inspiration. I managed to track it down.
It came from Elevating Elric: Michael Moorcock Interviewed, by Stephen Hunt from way back in 2002 on sfcrowsnest.com (which is down as of this writing. Fortunately, I had the interview saved on my computer):
Here’s the quote:
Q:What advice would you give to budding fantasy writers?
Stop reading fantasy books and read EVERYTHING ELSE. This is my standard advice. That way the writer is likely to bring something fresh and origin to their work.
In fact, according to The Guardian, that’s Moorcock’s Number One Piece of Advice. (The historian in me, however, wishes they’d site their sources and hopes SF Crowsnest will return).
There’s a lot of truth in this. Every artist–be it a writer, musician, or D&D gamemaster (or whatever)–needs to branch out. Otherwise you risk cliche and staleness to your work.
As a budding wordsmith, I’ve been reading different genres of fiction. I also teach history, and those paths have lead to books which provide far more fulfillment than many, if not most, of the fantasy/sci-fi stories I’ve read over the years.
Although it has been awhile since I’ve game mastered any RPGs, I know my craft as GM improved once I put the rulebook down. One of the fallacies, I believe, many gamers succumb to is that the rulebook is the be-all, and the end-all to a game.
It’s not. Put the rulebook down. Read Appendix N. Read some ancient and medieval history. Read self-help books. Read books on theology and religion.
Go beyond the rules and your favored genre to find fulfillment.