Your influences

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Your influences

Post  Claude Delacroix on Wed Feb 03, 2010 2:10 pm

This is something I've wondered since we started this site. I don't know about the rest of "the old gang" of ToP writers, but my main writing influences have changed since those earlier days of my artistic fumblings. Back then, I was preoccupied with making (now painfully) obtrusive references to music and anime that I enjoyed, as well as a half-arsed attempt at writing Pratchett-esque humor that I failed at quite epically.

Now I'm not claiming to be brilliant, but I know that I've at least improved enough to be subtle, and I attribute most of this to college composition and creative writing classes, more developed sense of story and style, and a larger reading list.

So, what top 10 writers and works have influenced your writing style, and why?

1) Terry Pratchett and J.K. Rowling

A tie for number one. These were my main influences in the old days, and it speaks something of how I view their works if I still consider them so important to me. In essence, these two wrote the books that inspired me to be a writer: Night Watch and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

2) Neil Gaiman

The man that showed me fantasy fiction does not need to be in strict "ancient" settings, his Anansi Boys novel and Sandman comic series influenced me greatly and pushed me towards incorporating "horror" elements. Also, his magipie-like talent for picking the best of old stories and legends to re-imagine is admirable...

3) Grant Morrison

A writer who (to my knowledge) deals exclusively in comic books, this Scottish freak has traveled far and wide, dabbled in acid culture, experimented in the occult/mysticism (he claims to have summoned a demon, John Lennon, and one of comiic legend Jack Kirby's New Gods), and conspiracy theories to pump out consistantly brilliant post-modern stories combining all of these elements, best exemplified by "The Invisibles."

4) Alan Moore

Another comic writer. His weaving plots and intelligent design and execution are magic to me. Let's not forget that he also created The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, a steam-punk English major's wet dream.

5) Stanely Kubrick

What can I say? This man is one of my favorite directors, and his unique way of slipping symbols into well-crafted stories go along with Grant Morrison and Alan Moore.

6) Kevin Smith

Dialogue is IMPORTANT. See "Clerks."

7) Dianne Wynn Jones

"Howl's Moving Castle" showed me that romance does not have to be soppy an cookie-cuttered.

Cool Studio Ghibli films

Whimsy seems to rule throught these films, but they all carry strong messages, whether they be political, environmental, or social.

9) Irvine Welsh

His novels "Trainspotting" and "Glue" taught me to not turn a blind eye to the dark and miserable side of life.

10) Jojo's Bizarre Adventure/Tank Girl/Hellblazer

Each taught me that if you MUST included pop-culture, at least be clever and not make it painful.
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Claude Delacroix
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Re: Your influences

Post  Jessamine Blake on Wed Feb 03, 2010 3:35 pm

I haven't even thought about this, but my influences have definitely changed since the last time I forayed into collaborative fiction. My primary influence was probably the ton of children's and YA literature I'd read up to the point, along with some slightly more sophisticated fare. Also, I was pretty much driven by whatever dramas were playing out in my life at the time; you might say I took "write what you know" to an unhealthy extreme. As for actual authors who had an influence on me, there doesn't seem to be any logical progression from then to now:

Then:
1. C.S. Lewis
2. Robin McKinley
3. J.K. Rowling

Now:
1. Ayn Rand
2. Philip Pullman
3. Tori Amos

I know that last one is a musician, not an author, but you'd be surprised how deeply ingrained those lyrics get after you listen to them a thousand times. My style of writing leans a little more toward the austere and minimal now, as opposed to the melodramatic and over-emotional, and I attribute this entirely to reading Ayn Rand (it doesn't matter that I only read the two novels; it's at least the equivalent of reading all of Shakespeare's plays). I can't seem to get entirely away from fantasy, although I firmly believe I write better away from it. Still, if you were to look on my "special" bookshelf (the one reserved for the best books), you'd notice an almost disturbing lack of reality-based fiction. I'm hoping this site will be an exercise in blending the austerity of a reality-based writing style with the high interest of a fantasy-based world.
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