Writers That Shaped Your Writing



I recently read a writer's speech about how the books he read as a child influenced his writing. He talked about how he wanted to be the author of Tolkein's Lord of the Rings ( I mean, who doesn't?) and how since that was impossible, he'd settle for writing other great stories. I loved reading about how he now recognizs that his childhood favorites both inspired him to be a writer and also influenced his writing style. You can read the full article here.

I started thinking about the favorite writers of my youth. I wish I could say that I read C.S. Lewis and Tolkein, but I didn't. In fact, I'm only just now reading LOTR. (I know, I know...) Anyhow, I loved fairy tales. There's no doubt that my love for them is still with me. When I was about six, my parents signed me up in a book club for kids where I would get books in every month. The mailboxes were at the entrance of the park where we lived at the time.I remember driving my dad crazy to go check the mail, which was a good, long walk from our house, but he would usually give in to my pleading. I couldn't wait to see if another book had arrived, thus began my love affair with books.

 My mom read to me every night, but she read me novels. Not only did she focus on reading me books, but she read ones that are now banned in schools and considered "inappropriate" for children. (I could write a whole post on how I disagree with this, but not today.) Mark Twain was one of the favorites of both her and I. She would use the accents, being from rural Alabama, her's was pretty good. Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer were two that I vividly remember. I developed a deep love for southern culture through those novels. I grew up in LA (lower Alabama) and every story that I've ever written has had some sort of southern flare in it. There's no place like home; there's no place like the South.

As I got older, I read a lot of Nancy Drew books and the Goosebump collection. Mystery, suspense, and spooky plot lines have followed me throughout my writing. My novel Realm of Desire  definately has some scarey/mysterious things going on throughout.


As a teenager, I fell in love with Little Women. I read it over and over again. My name was in that library book so many times that I'm sure they thought I was the slowest reader ever. I would turn it in and check it right back out. Jo stole my heart and egnited my desire to become a writer. I won't even mention how many times I watched the movie. lol It remains my favorite book, and sadly, I've never even owned a copy.

In my senior year in high school, I discovered Jane Eyre. I read that book cover to cover in a week. I loved the supernatural (or so we thought) feel of it, the realness, the desire, the sadness... ahh... it's still one of my favorites. That same year, I also discovered Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. The slight aversion to reading I had developed in high school was all over with then. I couldn't read enough of Austen's work.



My first novel takes place in the 1880s, and it reads much like a Bronte/Austen book except that I've added the southern flare of Mr. Twain. lol

I never would have thought that all the things that I read as a child/teen would have affected my writing style so much. I owe a lot to these authors that have graced the pages of my life.

What authors have made the most impact on your writing?

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4 comments:

Emily D. Wood said...

Great post! My mother read to me as a child too. She read everything from Bible stories to Mother Goose to short stories to novels. I even had a special bookmark that went in whatever book we were reading that night. I used to love to recite nursery rhymes as a small child. Maybe that is why I love to write poems. I never thought of that before. One author that has influenced me: Fannie Flagg. "Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man" is still my favorite book to this day. I cannot help but identify with her style.

Ashley Chappell said...

I love this post! And thank you so much for sharing the books you’ve loved and which have impacted you. Your story reminds me of my mother reading to me as a little girl – she loved to read and wanted to teach me at the same time, so I learned to read her Danielle Steele novels before she started me on Dr. Seuss! My ultimate influences, though, came after my father died when I was 10. The family brought me box after box of his books from his personal library, and that was when I discovered Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Douglas Adams, and others. I became a COMPLETE SF/Fantasy nerd before I was even old enough for training bras  Since then, however, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman are the two that most influence me as a writer. They have both become my heroes!

And you mention being from LA – what a coincidence! I’m in Huntsville, but my boyfriend grew up in LA as well – the Dothan area, but Echo, Alabama to be exact. I love our trips down to his family farm... the culture there is such a slow, relaxing pace!

Vanessa Eccles said...

Ashley, that is a coincidence. I grew up in Dothan and go to school there now. I currently live on Lake Eufaula, so I'm still close. I appreciate your comment and follow. Thanks. :)

Jess@The Secret DMS Files of Fairday Morrow said...

What a fantastic post! I loved so many of the same books as you. My mom read to me every night and she helped develop my love of reading. I enjoyed Nancy Drew and C.S. Lewis as a child. I was also a big fan or The Wrinkle in Time Series. Many of the ideas for the book I have written have been developed through the books that I read as a child and as I grew up.

Like you- Jane Eyre really mesmorized me and I put it up there with my favorites.