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shockandawe232
05-14-2012, 09:16 PM
Has any specific author's writing influenced your writing in anyway? If so, who and how did they influence you? What about their writing made a big impact on your writing?

For me it was Tom Clancy and specifically the opening of his novel Debt of Honor:

"In retrospect, it would seem an odd way to start a war. Only one of the participants knew what was really happening, and even that was a coincidence."
It just left me with so many questions about what was going on that it really drew me into the rest of the book and I wanted to find out what happened. I want to have my stories draw in readers like that.

jaksen
05-14-2012, 10:37 PM
Tolkien.

I wanted to write big, complex, cast-of-thousands stuff like him, but written in a less ornate style. I have yet to do this, prob. never will.

Maze Runner
05-14-2012, 10:43 PM
Bukowski for his honesty. Larry McMurty for his welcoming, friendly style, and the way that he interjects back story without slowing the narrative. I did read one of his, can't remember which, where it was too awkward; he pretty much just threw a line on the end of a lot of scenes. Michael Chabon's uniquely vivid metaphors, and for the beauty of his prose. Mailer and Joyce Carol Oates for their razor sharp ideas. Stephen King, though I haven't read a lot- really not my genre, but there's so much humor in his stuff, it taught me that presenting a fuller view of things adds texture and truth.

Speaking of truth, truth is I learn every time a pick up a novel, even if it's what would not work for me.

Kerosene
05-14-2012, 10:56 PM
Hemingway.

It shows deeply on my objective, dialogue driven writing style.

Stephen King for the writing life and experience.

Strunk and White for my writing knowledge.

Ses
05-14-2012, 11:00 PM
Always Hemingway, because his writing is so sparse yet elegant. William Faulkner, but his novel As I Lay Dying in particular. Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson, even though I loathe Winesburg because I have read it so many flipping times for school, but I can not deny its influence.

More recently, White Teeth by Zadie Smith and The Shadow Lines by Amitav Ghosh.

And then, I've been doing some theory stuff too--A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver, several affect theorists, The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard.

And lastly, I've been lately interested in the German language and how they string together entire paragraphs worth of adjectives and modifiers, something you can't correct grammar-wise get away with in English.

shockandawe232
05-14-2012, 11:22 PM
C.S. Lewis,Tom Clancy, and J.K. Rowling influence me most. C.S. Lewis with the eloquence and style of how he writes, reminds me of myself when my writing is at its best. Tom Clancy with the complex political story lines. J.K. Rowling with how in her stories she has little things that don't appear to matter like the invisibility cloak, Neville Longbottom and other things, and have them play a large role later in the story

HoneyBadger
05-14-2012, 11:23 PM
My love of vivisection comes from Beatrix Potter, I "accidentally" shoot people just like Burroughs, and Kathy Acker gets credit for my goofy tattoos and haircuts.

I learned how to tell the truth from James Frey.

Jamesaritchie
05-15-2012, 02:53 AM
God, start with Mark Twain and work your way forward. I've been influenced strongly by so many writers I can't begin to know which one influenced what.

Robbie
05-15-2012, 03:01 AM
James Kelman I think has subconsciously influenced me a lot. The way he writes is easy and unforced and I have always tried to write like this.
Carver lately (i've only started reading him recently) as well I think has had a big influence on me because he showed me that you can do a lot with small, simple sentences.
I love the humour of Kelman though. He just puts these funny scenes in your head and he writes in such a loose and wild way.

mfarraday
05-15-2012, 03:47 AM
I don't mean to answer this as a 'favorite authors' thread but honestly, I am not sure I could get into all the complex reasons how my fave's influenced me. I love Thomas Hardy, Anne Tyler, Stephen King, and Piers Anthony. So far I write a lot of fantasy and some literary fiction (my flash fiction tends to be of the literary fiction genre, not sure why, although that's not 100% true, either...just the majority though.) I like to write tragic things, though I don't like showing that writing to my immediate family because of how they might react.

I write fantasy for my longer stuff and I'd have to say Anthony influenced me the most there. I love thinking about the Xanthian magic tapestry that shows the land of Xanth, 800 years before present time.

I like how King and Tyler interject so much humanity into their characters, flaws and all, and how some of King's characters struggle with addiction, and how Tyler's characters struggle with letting other people into their little worlds.

I am not sure I follow their examples always, but they are the ones who influenced me the most.

Miss Plum
05-15-2012, 04:56 AM
John Updike for his penetration into his characters' states of mind and his representation of physical reality -- Janet Angstrom scrambles "across the jagged knees of strangers" as she arrives late at a movie.

Emily Bronte for her poetic prose -- any of the great speeches in Wuthering Heights.

Charles Dickens for his rich prose and vivid imagery -- a great bell's "frozen head" as it rings in the dead of winter.

lorna_w
05-15-2012, 05:42 AM
I'll avoid the big list of favorites; however, I do also suspect that there's stuff that influenced me very early on that I'm not entirely conscious of. For instance, I'm not religious, but my father used to read us stuff out of the King James Bible, and I bet you that language influenced me, along with Bros. Grimm and other folk tales, Ogden Nash poems, and, sad to say, probably even the 1930's era Bobbsey Twin books that were sitting around the house. And that's just what I can remember right now.

blacbird
05-15-2012, 06:03 AM
Anybody who writes good well. Criteria for that judgment include clarity, specificity, lack of superfluous fluff, and vividness. I'm also not real fond of self-congratulatory indulgences (a la Tom Robbins and Thomas Pynchon).

caw

jjdebenedictis
05-15-2012, 08:52 AM
Jim Butcher for his ability to write books that are rollicking maelstroms of insane fun.

J. K. Rowling and George R. R. Martin for their characters and worlds that bloom to life so vividly in my brain.

Terry Pratchett for his ability to write books that are wildly entertaining but peppered with horrible and brilliant gotcha insights into humanity.

Richard Morgan for his effortless yet sophisticated worldbuilding, as well as the perpetual, breath-stealing rage of his protagonists.

WildScribe
05-15-2012, 08:57 AM
Is it stupid to say that I'm influenced by every writer that I read? I'm constantly pausing in a book to admire a well turned phrase or a unique metaphor or a description that is outside of what I might have come up with on my own, and even when the mental notes are bad ones, I am still taking note of what I see that doesn't work and (I hope) avoiding those same influences in my own writing.

In real life, several of my writing friends have influenced my writing habits, goals, and aspirations just by setting an example.

Libbie
05-15-2012, 12:27 PM
Lots. Too many to name. Nabokov is probably my #1.

Lady Ice
05-15-2012, 01:57 PM
Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Nabokov...like WildScribe, I'm sort of influenced by every book I read. Looking back over my past writing, I can tell exactly what I must have been reading at the time.

Lissibith
05-16-2012, 05:05 PM
Stephen King, for his wonderfully flawed characters and worlds. And Robert Asprin for making fantasy light and fun without being awkward, which I hadn't encountered before him. (Pratchett does this as well, and is a current inspiration, but when I was just starting to write, I hadn't even heard of him yet)

warofthesparks
05-16-2012, 07:04 PM
I'm going with Agatha Christie, Stephen King, and Christopher Nolan. Even though the latter isn't an author, I've been just as influenced by his Batman films as I have reading any book. Agatha, because of her genius plot twists, and Stephen because of his 3D, relatable characters.

bearilou
05-16-2012, 07:15 PM
Can't name specifics that would remain constant through time since I am continually influenced by writers who are able to write a book that I say 'damn, that was the last page? is there more? where can I get them?'

Whether they are great writers or great books is kind of irrelevant to me. Were they able to keep me turning pages? Was I emotionally invested in the characters? Are they writers that I will immediately search out more of their work? If the answers are yes, they have influenced me because I want to do that, too.

Currently (subject to change) on my (incomplete) list are: Gail Carriger, Stacia Kane, K. A. Stewart, Paul Kemp, Dan Abnett, Doug Hulick, Glen Cook, Myke Cole, John Levitt, Anne Lyle, Richard Kadley, Rachel Aaron, Carol Berg, Mark Del Franco, S. W. Vaughn, Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald...and those are just off the top of my head. I can't get enough of them and have to count my pennies to save up for more from them. They go at the top of my 'next to buy' list.

HapiSofi
05-16-2012, 08:12 PM
My love of vivisection comes from Beatrix Potter, I "accidentally" shoot people just like Burroughs, and Kathy Acker gets credit for my goofy tattoos and haircuts.

I learned how to tell the truth from James Frey.
Such joy.

flapperphilosopher
05-16-2012, 08:21 PM
Hemingway, like others, especially for simplicity, dialogue, and subtext; Tennessee Williams for dialogue, subtext, and constant dramatic tension; Steinbeck for characters; Anne Tyler for details and characters; Fitzgerald for themes; Margaret Atwood for characters; Stephen Sondheim (the Broadway composer & lyricist) for understated yet powerful emotional expressiveness; the writers of Mad Men for tension, subtext and incorporation of historical setting... most of what I've read and seen goes into the mix!

Raventongue
05-17-2012, 07:39 AM
I'd venture to say most or all of us are influenced by more writers than we know.

Anyway, I think for me one unexpected (due to huge genre differences) influence may have been the small pool of lovably curmudgeonly essayists I like. Arthur Black, David Sedaris, that kind of thing. Sometimes I see phrasing reminiscent of one or more of them slip in and I go, "Well that doesn't belong in fantasy..."

KTC
05-17-2012, 03:33 PM
Roald Dahl and JD Salinger.

Norman D Gutter
05-17-2012, 05:28 PM
James Michener
Herman Wouk
Tom Clancy
Charles Lamb
Robert Frost

Smiley0501
05-17-2012, 06:05 PM
Francesca Lia Block was the first author I tried to imitate. :ROFL: It was actually useful in helping me to find my own style, though. I swear :tongue

Besides her...
FLB (above)
KA Applegate for writing violence and not shying away from it for young children as a woman writer in the 90's...I always thought that was impressive
AW's Shady Lane for writing a dark, tiny book and getting it published (gives me hope!)
Frank Herbert for his worldbuilding (agh, Dune!)
JK Rowling, also for her worldbuilding and characterization. For making me love Snape when I didn't necessarily want to :tongue

Brett Marie
05-18-2012, 10:32 PM
J. Robert Lennon. He wrote The Light of Falling Stars, Castle and my favorite, Mailman, among others.

The guy is a genius when it comes to voice. Each of his books follows a wildly different main character, and for each he chooses a unique point of view, tense, vocabulary and grammatical style.

I will die happy if someday I read a paragraph like the above, written about me. As for the rest of you, I recommend him highly, for study or for sheer enjoyment.

cmi0616
05-19-2012, 01:39 AM
Jonathan Franzen has to be one of my biggest influences. I've always really admired his prose and also, even before I started reading his work, the subject matter tended to be very similar.

Also, Tom Wolfe as far as style goes. Although I go for a slightly more dumbed down kind of style (less "..."s, dashes, and exclamation points).

Kerouac's On The Road should be mentioned as well, for it's poetic value. He had a way with words.

scribbledoutname
05-19-2012, 08:02 PM
William Nicholson and Chris Wooding :)

Raventongue
05-19-2012, 10:41 PM
J. Robert Lennon. He wrote The Light of Falling Stars, Castle and my favorite, Mailman, among others.

The guy is a genius when it comes to voice. Each of his books follows a wildly different main character, and for each he chooses a unique point of view, tense, vocabulary and grammatical style.

I will die happy if someday I read a paragraph like the above, written about me. As for the rest of you, I recommend him highly, for study or for sheer enjoyment.

This sounds pretty epic actually. I may read it for sheer enjoyment.

CJ.Wolfe
05-23-2012, 11:24 AM
J.K Rowling - for being the one to start me off reading in the first place, without which I'd have never found a love of reading; and from that writing. And of course, through her, learning that people act certain ways because of the circumstances they are victim too and are not necessarily deserving of our scorn and dislike: like Draco and Snape and Neville. And watching how characters like these can change and evolve and make you love them :)

Jonathan Stroud - Because of Bartimaeus and is wonderful character of which I could never stop reading if only Stroud would keep writing him.

And the type of writers who can make you laugh and cry at the same time, and who can make you angry on their character's behalf; or devastated or shocked or surprised all in the same story.

rainsmom
05-23-2012, 07:05 PM
All the writers I read influence me. As someone said above, I frequently notice a particularly apt phrase or a particularly beautiful metaphor. Or well drawn characters. Or fantastic dialogue. Or, or, or....

Writing influences aside, Sara Gruen has influenced how I think about my career. I see some similarities in her early books and the book I'm writing and in her later books and the books I have on my list to write next. I would love to have my career parallel hers!!

Phaeal
05-23-2012, 09:31 PM
I am the love child of Jane Austen and H. P. Lovecraft.

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a well-grown shoggoth must be in need of a meal. Preferably Chicago."

Pinguicha
05-23-2012, 10:41 PM
George Orwell and his amazing 1984. Nothing messed my head up more than that book... I even got two tattoos out of it!

JJLindsell
05-24-2012, 11:20 PM
I don't try to imitate anyone, but in terms of influences, wow millions.
A possibly unusual one is W E B DuBois, an African-American historian who wrote his narratives and analysis almost like poetry, which was insanely moving. I guess a little rubbed off on Dee Brown.
Joseph Heller for comedy value. I also like to look at music lyrics, like Ratm or Brand New, not only because they're interesting in the first person/4th wall breaking ("just another local kid/getting paid for my vocals") but because of the imagery they evoke.

Ken
05-30-2012, 01:17 AM
... Dostoyevsky. His lopsided dialogue. His characters speak for whole pages at a time, before another one chimes in. I really dig that and strive to emulate it some. D. was just plain awesome in general and is one step away from being my idol. Something prevents that. Probably for the best.

MyFirstMystery
05-30-2012, 03:37 AM
Agatha Christie, for the sleekness of her storytelling. I love mysteries (obviously) and hers are pure story without all of the padding and fluff we tend to see in contemporary fiction. Sue Grafton does this well too, particularly in her earlier novels.

Yes, I do like character development, description, and theme. But I love the way those two women are able to tell a story with a minimum of excess, getting right to the point and making you care.

*shiver*

:)

JoNightshade
05-30-2012, 04:01 AM
Bradbury, early on - every page of his work is infused with love, passion, hope.

Steinbeck, later - sparse, devastating, real.

Pieohazard
05-30-2012, 10:23 AM
Neil Gaiman and Daniel Handler, more than anything. Their playful use of tone, characters and situations always borders on the satirical while never actually descending into something so one-dimensional. They're always able to attain and maintain an awesome sense of black comedy while portraying the world in a hopeful, resigned, magical way, casting the strange characters who inhabit our universe into an insightful light. Their use of language is simple -- never purple or pretentious -- but so rich you can almost taste it, always close and beautiful. If I could write 1/4 as good as either of them, I wouldn't know what to do with myself.

InfiniteDreamer
05-31-2012, 10:30 PM
When I was a kid it was R.L. Stine who inspired me to write creepy stories, now it's Stephen King, Edgar Allen Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, and T.C. McCarthy(even though he writes war novels, I like his style)

savagelilies
05-31-2012, 10:44 PM
Holly Lisle for making me believe in myself, as a writer; and for making me believe that I could be a writer (a dream which I thought was impossible, and still seems to be, sometimes.)

Kristin Cashore, for writing books that have awed and inspired me as a writer and reader in her creation of characters, of worlds, and of stories.

Jamesaritchie
05-31-2012, 11:23 PM
Neil Gaiman and Daniel Handler, more than anything..

For me, one of the few things better than reading a Neil Gaiman story is listening to him read one of his stories. And I don't even like listening to audio books.

vivalalauren
06-01-2012, 05:17 AM
I don't try to imitate anyone, but in terms of influences, wow millions.
A possibly unusual one is W E B DuBois, an African-American historian who wrote his narratives and analysis almost like poetry, which was insanely moving. I guess a little rubbed off on Dee Brown.
Joseph Heller for comedy value. I also like to look at music lyrics, like Ratm or Brand New, not only because they're interesting in the first person/4th wall breaking ("just another local kid/getting paid for my vocals") but because of the imagery they evoke.

Oh, I love DuBois. I was introduced to him last year. Only good thing I got from that particular professor.

As for my writing, I love Deb Caletti. I'm sure there are others, but she's the one I'm getting the most out of lately.

triceretops
06-01-2012, 05:50 AM
I'm a mash-up of Peter Benchley, Poul Anderson, Alan Foster, Joseph Wambaugh and Bradbury. Irony, wit and humor--voice.

tri

Sunflowerrei
06-05-2012, 08:03 AM
Jane Austen, for her truthful observations of society and life and her snarky wit. Elizabeth Chadwick, for her detailed historical research and the psychological depth of her characters. Ian McEwan, because Atonement ripped my heart out and I loved every second of it.

Seth?
06-06-2012, 08:26 AM
Okay, I'm going to be completely honest here and say that Stephenie Meyer is who got me into writing novels. I read Twilight when it first came out, and I was just like, Dude... Werewolves and vampires and girls who are in love with them. Fuck yeah.

Hence my first novel was birthed.

Some other writers who have influenced me since are Mark Twain (satire FTW!), John Green (surprise surprise), and JK Rowling, which is more inspiration than influence, just because of where she came from to where she is now.

Actually, John Green is who got me into writing guys.

David Levithan's Boy Meets Boy is what influenced me to start writing LGBT (well that and the fact that I, you know, like guys ;)), so he's definitely an important one (I have no idea what I would do without my boyxboy romance now.)

I probably could've just given you a list, but hey I AM an overachiever. (Lol Seth no you're not.)

Nice thread!



-Seth

Drainland
10-16-2012, 06:04 PM
I think I lived out all my teenaged rebelliousness through the local library: Bret Easton Ellis, Hunter S Thompson, James Ellroy. (They let kids read anything at my local) And all of them are still looking over my shoulder to this day.

I also distinctly remember reading Scott Turow's Presumed Innocent and thinking the chapter design was amazing. I haven't read it since but it seemed like a collection of perfectly interrelated short stories at the time. So that was a big moment. I still try and make every chapter it's own thing.

(Is that book any good?)

Later I got into Larry McMurtry and Lonesome Dove is probably my favourite book. Learned a lot about economy from Larry. Not that I'm showing it here.

Finally, The Secret History by Donna Tartt still seems perfect to me. Sometimes I feel like just writing with a working knowledge that something like it exists is helpful.

ArachnePhobia
10-17-2012, 06:41 AM
This is a tough question to answer. I'm going to have to be honest and admit I do not know some of my most beloved influences, because all I heard and all I remember are their stories. There were these anthologies we read in school when I was a kid, and there are a handful of stories I remember so vividly, even though I can't remember who wrote them. The one about the man who paints the clouds in the sky, the one about the girl who drew her apartment with a marker, the one about the sumo wrestler who was so tough he could pull up fully-grown trees.

Also, the reason I have such gooshy feelings for Halloween is because my grandmother and granddad made such a big deal out of it, and they'd tell us ghost stories, then take us to see storytellers who'd have even more ghost stories. Man, there was this amazing one about the woman whose fiance died, and she didn't know it, so when he shows up at the door and tells her he wants to take her somewhere "special" she's got no idea anything's amiss... and then as they're riding on his horse she puts his arms around him and he's so cold... not to mention the one about the vampire who killed the neighbor kids and mixed their blood in oatmeal and forced the heroine to eat it. Man, that was great!

However, there is one final thing I must not neglect to mention. One day I was in the children's section of the library, and I saw this colorful book on puppets and puppet shows. That it was so much thicker than anything around it should have tipped both me and the librarians off that something was fishy, but I was so delighted with all the big colorful pictures of nifty puppets, the plays you could put on with them, and best of all, the directions included to make them! Oh, boy, I was going to make a bunch of puppets and then put on all kinds of plays! And I was attracted especially to the one with the black mask and the white suit and the big stick and was totally going to make him first...

Ye-ah. And these were not Bowdlerized. I often look back on this fond moment, scanning a non-Bowdlerized Mr. Punch/Pulcinella play with my hands covered in flour and newspaper, and fondly say to myself, "Yup. That's the exact moment I became so thoroughly screwed up."

Ahem. To name some authors, I loved The Neverending Story, by Michael Ende, The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster, and anything by Roald Dahl. My granddad really loved Edgar Rice Burroughs (mostly Tarzan), and my grandmother a lot of Agatha Christie (the Marple and Poirot were her favorites) so I read those, too. Later influences are Poe, Lovecraft, William Hope Hodgson, the vampire bigs (Stoker, Polidori, Le Fanu, Preskett-Prest and his whole big writing crew), I haven't read everything but I dig what I have found by Abraham Merritt. I really like the Brontes and Jane Austen. But that's no exhaustive list by any means (and it's been so long since I've read some of them, I may not even be remembering everything right).

EDIT: Oh, and I should probably mention the serial fantasy kick I went on in high school.

Emermouse
10-17-2012, 07:44 AM
I don't know if I can really point to any one writer, but Stephen King definitely helped form a large part of my style. I love the way he can create Everyman characters without making them cliche, and incorporate the ordinary, the aches and pains of modern life, with the fantastic.

writeontime
10-17-2012, 05:03 PM
Hemingway, Bukowski, Chandler and Jim Thompson for their lean prose style.

Evan Wright and Studs Terkel for their observational writing.

Zizek, Will Self and Iain Sinclair because of the leaps they make in their imagination and how they bring the seemingly disparate threads together in scintillating prose.

The Guardian Style Guide, Chicago Manual of Style, MLA Style Guide and Strunk and White for the rest.

Drainland
10-26-2012, 03:12 PM
Hemingway, Bukowski, Chandler, Jim Thompson for their lean prose style.

Yeah those guys! Me too. Jim Thompson's 'The Getaway' was a huge book for me. It felt like I'd found something no one else knew about. But then you meet other crime/noir buffs and...it's all people who felt that about JT.

Writeontime, have you started on / finished with John Fante?

writeontime
10-26-2012, 03:27 PM
Yeah those guys! Me too. Jim Thompson's 'The Getaway' was a huge book for me. It felt like I'd found something no one else knew about. But then you meet other crime/noir buffs and...it's all people who felt that about JT.

Writeontime, have you started on / finished with John Fante?


I haven't yet, actually. Any Fante recommendations?

Drainland
10-26-2012, 11:10 PM
I haven't yet, actually. Any Fante recommendations?

I just finished my first one 'Ask The Dust'. Bukowski wrote the introduction. It was really good. And you can totally see where Chuck got his inspiration.

Sunnyside
10-26-2012, 11:22 PM
Mine's weird -- especially given that I write biography -- but here goes:

Alan Moore, David McCullough, Daniel Boorstin, Robert Caro, Lewis Carroll, and Harvey Kurtzman. And if I can ever get to be half as good as any of them, I'll be able to die happy.

writeontime
10-27-2012, 12:53 AM
I just finished my first one 'Ask The Dust'. Bukowski wrote the introduction. It was really good. And you can totally see where Chuck got his inspiration.

Thanks for the rec - I've made a note of it and will hunt it down tomorrow. I'm always on the look out for new reading material.