Thursday, June 25, 2009

Under the Influence

Is there someone who has influenced your writing? For me, I’d have to say it’s Stephen King. The strange thing is I’m not a huge fan of his writing. I love his stories, but some of his novels are too detailed and have big description dumps all over the place. Skim through that and there’s a fantastic story with intriguing characters. My favorite novel of his is The Stand. It’s a huge book, but worth the read.

I haven’t read any of his recent novels, but I’ve heard since his accident, his style has changed somewhat. This could be a coincidence. He may have been advised by his publisher to cut back on the descriptive passages in order to fit in with the times. We all know beginning writers would never be able to get away with info dumps. Which makes me wonder if Stephen King would’ve had the potential to become as big as he is today if he’d just started submitting this year? Would agents and editors have given his work a second glance?

So, why then, do I consider Stephen King to be the writer who most influenced me? I’ve always been drawn to his career, but when “On Writing” came out, I was able to see some commonalities in what he’d gone through in his life and me in mine. And despite his wall covered in rejection slips, he persevered. He knew in his heart he was meant to be an author and he wasn’t going to give up on that dream.

That’s the way I feel. When I walk into a bookstore, I know someday my books will be on their shelves. It’s not something I’m wishing will happen. I KNOW it will. When? Well, that’s a whole other story.

Who’s influenced your writing and how?

16 comments:

  1. Right now, at this moment, my friends' writing is influencing me. I've been reading several WIPs by talented friends, and WOW, it is so amazing to read unpublished work to see things in fluid change, to see what works and what doesn't. It helps out more than I thought!

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  2. Jodi Peculation. I adore her writing style and read all her books even though I probably misspelled her name:) She uses wonderful metaphors and similies.

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  3. My early influences (before I really knew I wanted to be a writer) were Stephen King, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Tom Clancy. I also read On Writing, and it had a profound effect on me. Recently however, I have been dramatically effected by Jamie Ford. I have also become influenced by the number of blog friends I am surrounded with, some of whom are published and some of whom are not. I agree with your sentiment that it is not a question of whether I will be published, but when. Nice post.

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  4. That's actually kind of a hard question to answer, because so many things in my life have influenced how and what I write. I've read through so many different genres, and taken something from each of them along the way. I'm sure my writing has been shaped in some way by the work I did for college professors, tailoring to their own subjects and requirements. And of course my web writing - having written copy for myriads of different web sites over the years has certainly had some influence as well.

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  5. I have 'On writing' and like you I found it very inspiring. I've also found Natalie Goldberg (Wild Mind & Writing Down the Bones especially although I like all her books)to be inspirational. Fiction writers - there are so many that I admire, it would be hard to choose....but as a child it would have been Enid Blyton - she made me sure I wanted to be writer. Now there are too many to name. And then there are the many bloggers and writing friends who are invaluable companions on this writing journey.

    Kat :-)

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  6. CS Lewis! I admire the Chronicles and really just opened my mind for my own fantasy. Of course his writing is clever with his words and scenes, even the dialogue with thoughts mixed in parenthesis.

    Although when I heard JK Rowling wrote parts of Harry Potter on napkins while working, I thought hey if she can do it why can't I? The summer of 16 I started a fantasy story which morphed into a novel. All based on a simple painting.

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  7. I think everything I've ever read has influenced me in some way. I recently read a couple of John Sandford’s novels. He has a knack for using an economy of words to get his ideas across. I like that. The annoying thing is that his prolific use of the word ‘huh’ is affecting my life. I’m starting to use it in conversations and in my writing. Huh? lol

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  8. Oh, tough one. Ummm...the romance writers of the early '80's. They wrote these big, emotional, scandalous novels which pulled me in and made me want to write. Victoria Holt can also be blamed. In the same sentence I might add Laurell K. Hamilton. Both writers write in 1st person POV, a style I very much enjoy writing in. Holt was so good with tension and LKH introduced me to the power of paranormal writing. I don't care for LKH anymore but I do owe her a debt for my current writing style.

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  9. I'd say for my Chick Lit WIP, I draw a lot on inspiration from Kristin Billerbeck and Marta Acosta... strong female characters who have brains and aren't afraid to use them. I read Kristin's blog regularly, and have found myself very encouraged by a lot of the discussions there.

    For my fantasy writing, whether it's YA or adult, I think I find a lot of inspiration from David Eddings, C.S. Lewis, and more recently, authors like Patrick Carman, Brandon Sanderson and Rick Riordan - authors who aren't afraid to try new, innovative ideas in their writing. Their world building abilities impress me every time.

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  10. I'm with you Lynnette. I know that my books will sell. Just a matter of when.

    As for my author, it's James Patterson. I've read almost everything he's written.

    When you read his work, you believe it to be written by the character. Male or female. Young or not so young. He is a vessel for which someone else's story is told.

    That is always in my mind as I write and edit. I want my readers to feel like the characters are writing it, not a nearly 37 yo woman. :)

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  11. Really tough question. Too many to mention! Right now I'm reading a book (won't mention the name) that I am having a hard time getting through. It's influencing me in the opposite way. I'm learning what not to do!

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  12. UGH! This is difficult. There are so many people that have influenced me in different ways. I'd say first and foremost was Francine Rivers. Her books blow me away everytime and go to a deep level that I'm envious (in a Christian way) of. Okay, I was going to list more, but so many came to my mind I'll just stop here. *grin*

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  13. I'm totally influenced by the recent New York Times bestseller, John Grogan. He has such a way of painting a picture. He totally stirs my emotions.

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  14. Some of my high school teachers. My kids.
    Mostly, I inspire myself (hope that doesn't sound uppity).

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  15. I think that the fantasy movies that I saw when I was a kid influenced me the most: Lord of the Rings and The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, but also stories about myths that I saw in school, such as Anasi the Spider and Paul Bunyon.

    King's book on writing is great. I should read the Stand. Thanks for bringing that up.

    Let me know if you ever take a class at the Loft : )

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