A very long while ago, I promised to write about the authors who influenced my writing. I’m an absolute believer that the best writers are readers. I LOVE to read and this is probably an understatement (seriously, my Kindle is my best friend). Here are the author’s I’ve admired since before I can remember and what I love about them:
First up, Miss Jane Austen: Wit. Austen’s books are full of sly, sometimes surprising humor. I especially love her dialogue and the verbal sparring. I focus a lot of my writing on dialogue. It is the basis of my writing. For me, everything else is a filler.
C.S. Lewis: The symbolism in his writing is amazing and deep. Mine doesn’t even touch that, but I do try to have the environment and, more specifically, what my character’s notice about the environment, reflect their emotions or situations.
Walter Farley: Horses and more horses. I love having animals in a story. I think the way a character relates to them can give a reader a lot of insight. My books actually have less than originally planned, but there are just so many other things to fit in that I don’t have the room.
Michael Crichton: Believable science. I do a lot of crazy research to try to make the science in my book realistic. I really try. (Still not sure if I’m succeeding in this).
John Grisham: The political intrigue mastermind. After reading his books, I just had to throw some power-struggles and impossible moral/ethical situations into my writing.
Nicholas Sparks: Authentic. His writing is so blasted authentic, it’s painful. I love how he describes the misunderstandings, pain, and embarrassments of relationships. Also, he doesn’t always go for the happy ending, but the most realistic one. He makes his character’s vulnerable, and this is so not easy to do.
Before I start throwing out my YA author’s of inspiration, I want to make a disclaimer of sorts. I know that there are elements in my book that are cliche. Super-type powers? Been done. Rich, handsome new guy? Check. Strong, female protagonist? Of course. Yes, The Convergence shares a lot of these and other similarities. With all the millions of books out there, I think this is inevitable. Instead of attempting to make my book completely different, I dissected these other stories. Taking my favorite aspects, I incorporated them into the elements I already had planned and created a (hopefully) new, unique perspective. With the basic idea and outline of converters, I read these books with a more critical eye. There were things I didn’t like, but things I loved and I tried to take the best:
J.K. Rowling: Of course she had to be on here!! She does so, so many things so well, but what I took away was her willingness to let her character’s make mistakes and grow in their relationships and personalities. And her world building…just wow.
Susan Collins: I read Hunger Games right about the time I had my book plotted and was about ready to write. I fell in love with first-person present tense. I had never written in that tense and thought it would keep me from getting too long-winded and boring. It actually worked so well I had to go back and add a lot of description in my edits.
Veronica Roth: Her writing is just so to the point and action driven. I had already written a lot of my book before I read Divergent, but I took and incorporated her unique, powerful similes into my edits.
Aprilynne Pike: This series (Wings) isn’t as popular as it should be. The first book might be a little slow, but the last one is pretty darn epic. Full of all kinds of awesome drama. I’m really trying to follow Pike’s example in building the intensity and raising the stakes with each book.
Stephenie Meyer: A lot of author’s seem to love to hate the Twilight series. Here’s why I think it is so successful: Meyer didn’t create a world in some fantasy land or a future time. She made her world in the right here and now and she made it totally relate-able. I’m pretty sure some people think that Meyer’s vampires are real. I had actually considered the idea of having my story set in the future, but decided contemporary was the way to go.
Rick Riordan: He works to develop relationships between all his characters, not just the love interests. I love seeing familial-type bonds being formed. Because of this (and my own personal views on the importance of family relationships) I made Desiree close to her brother and also gave her a pretty strong, respectful relationship with her dad.
I could probably keep going on and on, but I think I’ll stop there. I’m only mostly kidding when I tell my family my reading is ‘research’ because I do learn a lot about writing and what works and what doesn’t work as I read both obscure and well-known authors. I’m always looking for more awesomeness to incorporate into my writing.
So, tell me, who are some of your favorite authors and what do you love about their writing? Or maybe the easier question is what do you dislike? Let me know below. Your comments just might shape the next story!