There is the ripple in the water. I see it break, shattering the calm around it. It spreads and touches everything. The influence of one ripple touches everything.
This is how it feels sometimes to write. I see glimpses of wonder in my writing that reflect my major influences, Anne Rice, Richard Matheson, Asimov, Bradbury and Hemingway. I’ve read all of these writers at some point and have learned from them more than I could put in week’s worth of blog posts.
From Anne I’ve learned description and how important it is, even if its that little piece laying on the floor. Anne Rice is the one writer I felt early on I understood her characters and felt what they felt. Lestat is still my hero, even if he’s a spoiled brat prince.
From Matheson I learned atmosphere and how important it is to have the feeling of the environment. When I read “Hell House” I learned more about setting and environment than any book before or since.
Asimov is still one that I learn from every time I read his work. His grasp of science and technology is amazing and I find things in his work no matter how many times I’ve read one of his works.
Ray Bradbury made me want to write horror as much as Asimov made me want to write Science Fiction. I remember reading Fahrenheit 451 in school and thinking it was one of the most amazing books I’d ever read. It is still in my top five books for that reason. Bradbury had a way of convincing you that what you were reading was real. Whether it is “Something Wicked this Way Comes” or “Fahrenheit 451” I always felt in the world.
Hemingway is a writer I didn’t start reading until I was in college. When I did I felt drawn to him like I was to Anne Rice. Hemingway makes you feel the story, makes the plot and characters feel alive. When I read “A Farewell to Arms” I cried at the end of the book. It was one of the times in my life I felt a book was written for me. I had that same feeling with Anne Rice’s “The Vampire Lestat”.
Reading all of these authors and the influences they’ve given me are immeasurable. When I’m up late–as I’ve been nearly every night lately–I see these authors in my own writing. When I describe things I see Anne Rice and sometimes I even see Robert Jordan.
I’ve learned that knowing where your writing influences come from makes you a better writer by reading and re-reading those you love. I understand and see myself in the lives of writers I love.
Now I’m getting closer to being in the group. I still have a lot to do to measure up to any of those I’ve listed, but I’m a step closer to having the opportunity to be there.
I read these authors to get better, I study them because I love their work.
Who are your writing and influences and how do you learn from them? Answer in the comments.