Literary Influences

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by LadyMairead, Jul 7, 2003.

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  1. LadyMairead

    LadyMairead Jedi Padawan star 4

    May 20, 2002
    I am interested to know: Does the book or piece of work you recently read influence your writing? I know that for me, whatever I've read recently, if it made an impression upon me, it has a huge impact upon my writing.

    For example, reading quality literature has a very noticeable effect upon my writing. I've really observed that after reading something written in the 17th, 18th, or 19th century, I write so much more eloquently and fluidly. When I haven't read anything 'classic' for a while, I think the quality of my writing is significantly decreased.

    I just finished re-reading Wuthering Heights yesterday, and then sat down to write a new post for my fic. It was amazing; the words just flowed, and often so perfectly (well, relatively perfectly for me, anyway) that it made me want to laugh out loud, because I had been lacking in that kind of inspiration for several weeks.

    Not only that, the style of literature effects how I write. After reading Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man, I noticed that I utilized stream-of-consciousness narrative more frequently and focused more upon sensory images. After reading Jane Austen or one of the Bronte sisters, I tend to produce posts full of subtle irony and conversational witticisms.

    Does this happen to anyone? What books or types of literature influence you, and how much? I am curious.
  2. Daughter_of_Yubyub

    Daughter_of_Yubyub Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Jul 8, 2002
    That's interesting about the "classics". I find they have an opposite effect: if I'm reading too many old books, my writing becomes awkward and stilted. I think it's because my stories are very dialogue based.
  3. Xaara

    Xaara Jedi Master star 3

    Jun 30, 2002
    More than anything, the tone of literature I'm reading seeps into my writing. For example, near the end of school I was researching for a report on Ralph Waldo Emerson (and Transcendentalism in general) and found my characters becoming increasingly and annoyingly sarcastic. This doesn't usually happen in my more developed fics (the ones in which I feel that I know the characters well), but when I'm just starting out or I'm in the process of creating characters, what I'm reading has an incredible impact on the way I write. (For the record: if any tigers or six-year-olds appear in any of my fics, you can blame it all on the Calvin and Hobbes my sister bought me. I don't know if that quite counts as literature, but I thought I'd put it in there anyway. :D)

    Then there's the nationality of the author I'm reading. I know these are some huge generalizations and they shouldn't be taken as undeniable facts, but I find that British authors have an ear for irony, Asian authors and authors who write about Asia have a wonderful balance and a subtle sense of the humor of the universe, and writers who are originally from Africa have very lyrical styles. I found myself reading Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart the other day, and trying to emulate his flow of words in a story I'm working on. (But then there was this little voice in the back of my head that kept saying, "If you can't imitate him, don't copy him." :) )

    So yes, I am influenced by the book I've read most recently, and I suspect I will continue to be.
  4. dianethx

    dianethx Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Mar 1, 2002
    I'd have to say, no. Recent literature that I have read does not influence my writing. However, old favorites have and do continue to shape my writing style. My particular favorites are Jane Austen for her superb wit and Mary Stewart (her early work) for her incredible use of descriptive language.
  5. NarundiJedi

    NarundiJedi Jedi Master star 6

    Oct 8, 2001
    People like Dave Barry have influenced me, because I like to have a bit of humor in what I write.

    I don't really take much of my inspiration to write from other books. I'm not a huge reader. I know the technical aspects of writing from being critiqued by my teachers and listening closely. But the only reason I write now is to tell stories. You don't need to read a ton of classics to be a good storyteller and grab people's attention. (I often fell asleep trying to read the classics, so they couldn't have been the best storytellers ;) )

    So my main sources of inspiration come from hearing other people talk. Studying their speech patterns and their quirks and putting them down onto paper to develop characters that people read to have certain qualities.

    I also use my knowledge of medicine to write medical science fiction, and if I need help with a certain disorder I can either research it or ask my beta, who is also medically-oriented.

    But yeah, hope I didn't derail the thread too much! :p

    Jae Angel
  6. KrystalBlaze

    KrystalBlaze Jedi Master star 5

    Aug 3, 2002
    It's safe to say no one influences me like Stephen King or Dean Knootz do. They both have their own unqiue styles that find a way to invovle the reader. Dean Knootz has a way of switching character POV and making it flawless. I simply [face_love] that and it drives me to that perfection. :)
  7. Jade_rebel3

    Jade_rebel3 Jedi Youngling star 3

    Mar 3, 2003
    Sometimes, just depends on the book. Katlyn, my friend, got me hooked on a certain writer. Can?t for the life of me remember his name. Well, he?s hero is cynical and sarcastic and the whole series is done from his POV, so even in the most angsty moments it has this humorous undertone. My original fiction piece is entirely made up of that.
  8. Arwen-Jade_Kenobi

    Arwen-Jade_Kenobi Jedi Knight star 5

    Feb 9, 2002
    Ditto on King and Koonz. I also love Anne Rice's style. It's so deliciously dark, even where the scene is somehwat happy.

    I'm trying to convey that in my fic "Dark Accusations" as much as possible
  9. Darth_Leia_6669

    Darth_Leia_6669 Jedi Padawan star 4

    Apr 26, 2003
    Its hard for me to say, as I haven't read much lately, but I use to be a viry avid reader. OK, I use to walk home from the library with a stack of books, and my nose planted firmly in one. [face_blush]

    I do know that now my favorite authors of the past still have an influence on what I write. My current fic has a society based loosely on Anne McCaffrey's "The Dragonriders of Pern" series, especially the later novels where they begin to incorporate technology into their existance. Anne Rice's "The Vampire Chronicals" also remain an influence. As for my writing style, I have to say Jim Morrison's poetry has been one of my major influences, most noticably his epic poem "The Celebration of the Lizard". This style comes out a little in my stories, but most definatly in my poems, which often try to incorporate themselves into my stories.

    I am also highly influenced by the music I listen to. Lately it's been groups such as Nine Inch Nails, Korn, Lincoln Park, Faith-no-More, among others. I have found, especially with writing angst, that this music helps me get inside the head of whichever character I'm writing.

    Never was one for the classics. The style just never caught me. That's just me though!

  10. Deneveon

    Deneveon Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 6, 2002
    My writing is most definitely influenced by what I read. If I haven't read at least one good book a week, I find it difficult and awkward to put my thoughts into words.

    Considering that, if I had only recently finished a well-written novel I'd enjoyed, that writer's style almost always affects the way I write and the way my story is presented.

  11. Darth_Tim

    Darth_Tim Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 26, 2002
    Honestly, I'd like to think I have my own style. I'm a history major (rather unconventional for an aspiring writer) and I do use my knowledge gleaned from the books I've read that are nonfiction in my fanfics - DOTF's Aldera battle, for example, is patterned after the invasion of Leyte and the battle of Midway in the Pacific theater of WW2. I do enjoy military fiction, but unlike Clancy or Larry Bond, for example, I tend to have a rather minimalist approach to the "techie stuff", especially since SW technology is fictional.

  12. AlrikFassbauer

    AlrikFassbauer Jedi Padawan star 4

    Apr 2, 2003
    Strangely, after I have read a whole book, I begin imitating that style.

    It's kind of weird: I was begin thinking and writing in the style the book was written in.

    Apart from that, I don't read "clasics", because I don't want to spoil my talent. I want it to develop itself, without heavy influences, and what's even more: without the thought "I'm sooo inferior !"

    That's why I tend to read really antique things, the Oddyssey, the Illiad and so on. They are great works, but won't interfere with my own style.

    Personally, I have some problems reading and using works that are better as what I'm able to : I simply can't use good-llooking computer "desktop wallpapers", because they always remind me that I will never be able to do such a great work.
    The same with Literature.

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