Who Influences Your Writing?

Some questions that have been coming up lots lately, is  Who Influences your Writing? Describe the evolution of an author. Who set your feet upon the creative road?

Who Influences Your Writing is different for every author. I think I caught the writing virus back in high school. The librarian at my school noticed that I was going through their entire (limited) science fiction/fantasy section, and that I’d started asking for books that he’d never heard of. Well, they must have received a budget that year. He gave me the book order catalogue and told me to curate the Scifi/Fantasy collection. Imagine – being told to pick any books you wanted to see on the shelves – for future students! I was literally a kid in a candy store. When the new books came in, I had first crack at them.

My other big influencer was a bookstore in my hometown. It was this very old, dusty shop. The shelves were packed solid with every book imaginable. One of the last, great, independent bookstores. The aisles were so narrow, that it was hard for two people to squeeze past each other. I still remember the smell. Dust and fresh-from-the-printer ink. It was an odd blending of old and new. I think I lived in that store throughout my childhood. Back then you could buy about 5 books for a Canadian $20.
It is very unfortunate that this store burned down due to a gas leak. They re-opened in another location, but failed to recapture the magic of the original. Although, I guess I’m looking through the magic lens of remembrance.

These places fired my imagination. Exposed me to outer space and places of high magic. Exposed me to violent confrontations between Good and Evil. Exposed me to the philosophies and incantations of mathematics, utopias, physics and magic.

So, what authors inspired my writing? That is a tough one. For me, I think it goes chronologically, something like this. I can’t really pick individual stories, so here are some of the authors.
1) Mother Goose – All fantasy and rhymes.
2) Hans Christian Anderson, Aesop’s Fables, Grimm’s Fairy tales, Bulfinch’s Mythology – My father would read us to sleep every night when I was a child. My parents had the old, original texts, that hadn’t been given the PC edit to eliminate all horror violence for us “gentler” generation. We never had nightmares. We lived secure in the knowledge that the witches, wolves and evil-doers who lived in the world were firmly defeated by the powers of good every night before bedtime.
3) The collective works of Edgar Rice Burroughs, HG Wells and Robert E. Howard.
4) Carl Sagan – I watched his tv series, read his books and basically developed an enduring love of Physics, Astronomy and Space. The romance and poetry of the explorer was seductive as hell. I found this Youtube video. See for yourselves. http://bit.ly/1drhejq
5) Robert A. Heinlein – Everything. His entire catalogue.
6) Terry Brooks – Everything!
7) Piers Anthony – Love it!
8) Larry Niven – may need to re-read all of his works!
9) Anne McCaffrey – Everything.
10) David Eddings – Everything.
11) Harry Harrison – Everything. Stainless Steel Rat – when is this going to be a movie!!!
12) Stephen King – ‘nough said.
13) Dean Koontz – ‘nough said.
14) F. Paul Wilson – read The Keep, Repairman Jack Series is a must!

I have to stop now. I find myself skimming the titles on my bookshelf, and pulling out books that amazed, inspired and stretched my imagination – and I can’t list them all – there isn’t enough room.

Everything we read, watch, experience, and live will influence our writing. Because it fires the imagination, it lights a blaze that, as an author, must be shared. It is the warm campfire, on the dark cold night, inviting us to sit a while, and share a story. This then, not the other, is the oldest profession.

Good Luck with your efforts. Leave a comment, ask a question and if this was helpful, please share it with your friends!

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