Majorly sorry for the lack of posts in the last week. It’s been kind of hectic, for various reasons, including house-guests, carpentry, and very warm weather. (the will to write disappears fast when you’re tired and and roasting) I’ll be writing and posting more later this week, but since you’re probably wanting some new materiel, here’s a list of books that have affected my writing.
The Lord of the Rings
I grew up with Aragorn, Frodo, Bilbo, and Gandalf. Literally. I cannot remember a time when I couldn’t flip the cassette or cd player on and listen to tale of the Battle of Five Armies or the Assault on Helm’s Deep. For a long time, I didn’t read them, because the books my mom owned were far too nice for the five and six year-olds to be playing with. Then, I got older and she got a paper-back set. I’ve been reading them ever since. Usually at LEAST once a year, for the entire series, plus Tolkien’s other Middle-Earth related works. Obviously, Tolkien has affected my writing style. I’ve had people tell me that my epic fantasy is “Tolkienesque”. I have to admit, I take that as a compliment.
Yeah, I know it’s not a book. It’s a person. However, it’s the only way I could justifiably mention him. It would be tantamount to treason to mention only one of his works. I also grew up with Verne, first with picture book of “Journey to the Center of the Earth”, then progressing (at age 8) to “Twenty Thousands Leagues Under the Sea”. Unabridged. (abridged books are just wrong). Verne gave me a love for fantastic, yet reasonable, adventures, and a love for the sound of the language. He wrote in French, but the translations lost nothing. Verne had a way with words and he never insulted his readers intelligence.
Ah, the king of deduction. Frankly, I think no serious writer’s repertoire of reading should be without Doyle’s detective. Even if you don’t like him, it should be read simply to gain insight in methods of suspense. It’s remarkably hard to keep suspense up, without making your reader feel like he’s in the dark. I love Doyle, in all his works, but particularly the Baker Street marvel. One lesson I’ve learned is that sheer variety within a consistent formula is capable of making a character great.
While Artemis Fowl isn’t my favorite series ever written, it does merit an appearance here, for two special reasons. First, Artemis’ smart-mouth, I’m-so-clever humor affected my writing of “Hunter” to no small degree. I like that kind of character, particularly when the smart quips are actually a ploy to disguise the real person. The second reason is Butler, Artemis’ body-guard. The man was just plain awesome. If he were a Hunter, he’d be the best in the business.