Friday, August 19, 2011
What I've Learned From Other Authors
I had a thought the other day about how other writers have affected me and what made me start writing. I can remember when I read my first series; it was, Narnia, of course. Because I enjoyed that series so much my father suggested that I read one of Stephen Lawhead’s books. Steve was in my dad’s Bible study group so he told me to come down after class and Steve would bring me an autographed copy of his book, The Dragon King (which I didn’t understand, why would he be writing HIS name in MY book?) I could have cared less. I wanted a lion not a dragon. Needless to say I ended up reading the entire series and loved it! Since then I have always had a book close by, or I’m writing one. My taste for books has widened. I can’t pick just one genre but I can tell you what a few authors have taught me about writing.
Along the lines of Lawhead, Lewis and Tolkien, I enjoy the allegory that makes you think beyond the obvious and dig deeper. John Jakes made me appreciate historicals, which was a major feat after having the most boring history teacher ever. And although I didn’t used to enjoy romances, the book, Mrs. Mike, showed me that a realistic story about relationships could be done tastefully. Janet Evanovich taught me how to add humor into my stories. Even the darkest or most serious of books can use a little comic relief to bring out another side of a character. The classics made me realize the changes in the literary industry and to learn from the ‘greats’.
I’m not a big horror fan but reading Stephen King’s, The Stand, was powerful and filled with symbolism. My dad has read all of the Louis L’Amour books at least twice. Louis may as well have lived at our house as often as he was there in thought. My dad taught me to look for the ‘take away’ in his books which gave the story more meaning. Francine Rivers took a giant leap when she wrote one of the first ‘edgy’ Christian fiction stories. Her, Mark of the Lion, series is still my favorite. Francis Chan wrote a non-fiction book that was so incredible I started reading non-fiction again.
Last but definitely not least is, The Way, my first Bible, you know the author. I wouldn’t have chosen to write in the Christian market if I hadn’t studied the Book when I was a teenager and on into adulthood. Because my faith is as much a part of me as taking a breath, the Christian undertone that is weaved into my stories is not forced. Its how I think and how I feel, not a sermon, just a way of thinking about life when you’re a Christian, and if you’re not a believer, how to get there. I don’t ever want to write preachy. I want readers to tell me if I do, but if my story doesn’t show that Way of living I’m being a hypocrite. I hope I’m finding that balance in my writing and in life.
Questions: What authors inspired you to write?
What authors and in what genres do you like to read?