Who Inspires You?



  • Do you have authors/artists (musical or visual) that inspire you? In the past, I've been inspired by authors like Robin Hobb, Diana Wynne Jones, and to a lesser extent by Jacqueline Carey. Jim Butcher is also someone whose work I enjoy. Musically, my tastes tend to run a gamut, so that would be a bigger list. These days, I don't have the reading time that I used to, but I'm trying to carve time out for it because I've noticed that if I don't read for long stretches, my own work tends to stagnate. Visually, I haven't had anyone inspire me to write in a long time.

    Why do some people inspire you more than others? For me, I like Diana Wynne Jones' take on fantasy worlds. They're not all cookie-cutter urban fantasy or things with medieval trappings. One of her books, The Dark Lord of Derkholm, actually takes some stereotypes and turns them around, and is fairly modern. Robin Hobb is very good with words and makes you feel what the characters are, whether she's doing a first or third person narrative. Jim Butcher's characters are fun and he can build suspense well. Jacqueline Carey's books center around romance more than I usually read, yet she can still draw me into her world.



  • My greatest writing influences were Tolkien and J.K Rowling and not in the sense they are what I aspire to be as a writer; they are entirely different types of writer than I am (I think the darkest moment in the Harry Potter series would be comic relief in Valcrest :P), but in the sense that they were the two authors that made me realize the potential of one single person's creative mind. Back when I was ten, eleven, years old, it was a mind-blowing realization that entire worlds could exist inside someone's head and it gave me this overwhelming sense of respect for just... Creative people in general. It made me look at everything I knew and loved in terms of entertainment and understand that someone at some point created that out of the spark of an idea. Like a tiny mental Big Bang.

    Machado De Assis, who is a Brazilian author; and I don't know if there are any translated works of his, otherwise, I'd definitely recommend a few favorites, and one of the greatest authors in our history in my humble opinion was more of an influence on my writing itself in terms of character building, emotional turmoil, and overall tone. A lot of his classics deal with the subject of insanity, paranoia, jealousy, sometimes in a tragic way, sometimes in a more humorous way. One of my favorite books by him is told by a dead man. It's a posthumous narration of the man's life. And there's a lot of cleverness and dark humor in that book. There's a lot of what might have been considered 'tasteless' humor at the time (he lived in the late 1800/early 1900).

    Edgar Allan Poe is also a great influence of mine. My brother wrote the script for a short film inspired by The Black Cat (that, unfortunately, is buried in some drawer today) when I was around 15 and I just fell in love with his work from that.

    In a minor scale there are other people, but... These are my major literary influences right there. ^^



  • I also enjoy Poe quite a bit, and Jack London. I read them growing up and they also had somewhat of an influence on the types of plot I like to read (and write, when I can manage). Anne Rice is another one I forgot. Less so with her religious works than her non-religious works though, since she had a period of time where she only wrote things inspired by Catholicism.

    Machado De Assis, who is a Brazilian author; and I don't know if there are any translated works of his

    Not Stateside, from what I can see. That's a shame, because he sounds like a very interesting author. Sometimes I really need to hunt for authors whose works originated in another country because there isn't as much interest for them here.

    JK is interesting. She can worldbuild and plot quite well. Her prose and romantic subplots didn't impress me, but then up until the end, I really wasn't her target audience. Nor does George RR Martin, sadly. Lots of people seem to enjoy his works. I was willing to give them a go but got left feeling cold by the middle of his second volume. People hear that I like/sometimes write fantasy and ask if I like him. I feel a bit sorry to disappoint them. xD



  • @Rose I see GRRM as more a kindred spirit than an inspiration because I was well into writing when I first go into reading anything of his. And I'll say that we're equally sadistic in the treatment of our characters (and readers), but even though we've had our stuff compared to Game of Thrones often, I don't feel our writing styles are all that similar. His stuff can be a little bit 'eh' at some points. I finished a Game of Thrones but didn't manage the time and energy to get into the next book yet.

    If you ever find any translated works of Machado de Assis, I suggest you get on that. The guy was a genius.



  • I see GRRM as more a kindred spirit than an inspiration because I was well into writing when I first go into reading anything of his. And I'll say that we're equally sadistic in the treatment of our characters (and readers), but even though we've had our stuff compared to Game of Thrones often, I don't feel our writing styles are all that similar. His stuff can be a little bit 'eh' at some points. I finished a Game of Thrones but didn't manage the time and energy to get into the next book yet.

    Mm. Character sadism is something I think most of us engage in at one point or another, though. If/when I can finally write something for myself, there will be a fair bit of it. Martin's second book drags quite a bit somewhere in the middle as far as my personal tastes are concerned. Some of his characters were interesting. Others I had trouble caring too much about so I didn't feel too connected when they died.

    If you ever find any translated works of Machado de Assis, I suggest you get on that. The guy was a genius.

    At times like these, I wish my second language skills were good enough to read for pleasure. xD



  • Hmm. I haven't read in awhile.

    I think I've talked about this elsewhere, but I read a couple Frances Hardinge books when I was much younger, and those definitely influenced the way I worldbuild and write stories today. Her plots (or at least the ones I've read, which is, sadly, 3) and worldbuilding are really in-depth and she's like fantastic with mystery? Anyway. When you find out how slow some of my stories start out, you can probably blame her >.>

    In terms of figuring out my usual themes and tones, you can probably blame writers like Jessica Khoury, and books like Ender's Game (which I only ever read the first one of) and Never Let Me Go (Kazuo Ishiguro). I love the way they take this dark, definitely questionable, ideas and make something great. (Jessica Khoury's are usually on the lighter side, but her first 3 books (which are good) are about various scientific experiments that either are achieved amorally or go terribly wrong (or both).)

    That's all I can think of atm.

    @Rose I've never read/watched anything GoT. But I've also never read any Harry Potter and only watched like 2-3 movies. But I also love watching peoples' souls die a little on the inside when they find that out. So...

    Edgar Allan Poe is also a great influence of mine.

    I've only read a couple Edgar Allan Poe pieces, but I lovee them so much. Add those to my influences towards what tones and themes I've ended up commonly using when I write XD



  • Most of those are people I haven't heard of, so when I get through my book backlog, I'll have to check them out. They both sound like reads I might enjoy, and since I like those themes, they may inspire me to finally stop failing miserably as a writer.

    I've only read a couple Edgar Allan Poe pieces, but I lovee them so much. Add those to my influences towards what tones and themes I've ended up commonly using when I write XD

    I like his poems. His short stories are something I would need to go back to. The Cask of Amontillado is something I remember reading back in the stone age. It had some interesting themes, including a narrator who's a total jerk. I need to get back into reading older works in general. They have something about them that more modern works are missing in terms of pacing and theme exploration. Plus, it's interesting to see what life may have been like for people then.



  • @typical_demigod, @Rose Have you guys ever been to "I Write Like"?

    It's basically a site where you put in a piece of writing and it tells you what famous author you write like. I've... Had mildly disappointing results more than once, though. So at your own risk. :P



  • I haven't, no. But according to that tool, I write like... Stephen King. I'm not sure whether to be amused or horrified.



  • @Rose I love Stephen King.

    I hate him for IT, but I love him. lol

    And you know, I hadn't run any writing through that in a while so I decided to analyze the first chapter of Shadows Rise and it says I write like Agatha Christie. I think I've never been happier with my results. Even though I don't believe them. :P



  • Stephen King for me is very hit or miss. I've read his things on and off since I was...12? Some of his stories really showcase his talent for suspense, whereas others he's even personally admitted were done under a deadline and therefore, not as good. I prefer Poe and a few other authors that may not be as contemporary, but still good.

    Agatha Christie is another one I need to read. I missed out on certain classics in school and reading on my own time when I was younger.



  • @Rose Stephen King is one of those things I love regardless of whether it's good. I think even some of his not-so-great shorts were so utterly bizarre in their premise I found it impossible not to love them for it.

    Agatha Christie is an author I respect a lot, even though she's not always my cup of tea. I believe that crime and mystery novels take a level of mental acuity and attention to detail I may never achieve in my lifetime. ^^'

    Which reminds me I forgot to mention Arthur Conan Doyle in my original post here. I've read A LOT of Sherlock Holmes growing up. A LOT of it.



  • Which reminds me I forgot to mention Arthur Conan Doyle in my original post here. I've read A LOT of Sherlock Holmes growing up. A LOT of it.

    Definitely need to read him too. They have a TV series out based on his works, but to me that's not the same thing. I believe they adapted it to modern audiences. All well and good, but I'd rather read the original first.



  • @Rose There's BBC's Sherlock and then there's Elementary. I like one more than the other, but due to fandom wars exploding in my general vicinity in the past, I won't say which. lol

    Neither show compares to the original works, though. And neither do the movies. They're good, but they're not nearly as good as the source material.



  • I haven't seen the movies or the shows yet. I can imagine that they don't, though. They also have games based on Holmes and Watson. Something else I intend to play when I have a proper system for it, though the new Call of Cthulhu game is due out at the end of this year and that's another thing I want to get my greedy little hands on first.



  • @Rose HP Lovecraft is something I never really got into. And this despite knowing that literally everything and anything horror has drawn at least some inspiration on his work.



  • In the interest of fairness, some of his things can be clunkers like many other authors. His world and mythos were later expanded on by others, and my own interest in it is somewhat more recent since I was commissioned to write characters that were looking into the Elder Gods. I developed a soft spot for the characters themselves and ran with the concepts presented to me (and introduced a few of my own into the mix to expand on what I was given), so I needed to look into some of it.


  • Plotist Team: Keepers of Code

    This is a tough question for me, I think I get inspired by everyone. Sometimes is people I would like to be like, sometimes is people I would like not to be like.

    Lately, I've been saying that I would like to write like Ursula K. Leguin, build worlds like George RR Martin, and master pace and structure as James SA Corey. Notable mentions are William Gibson's settings, not the worldbuilding but how he brings these worlds to life, Terry Pratchett's humour, Catherynne M Valente's lyricism and Neil Gaiman's whimsical imagination.

    In music there are way too many. As a musician I love many different genres for their own reasons, punk for its raw energy and jazz for its complexity and nuance, and I try to learn techniques and patterns from many sources. But if I have to give a list of favorites, I think my top 2 bands would be Foo Fighters and Pearl Jam.



  • @Rose

    I need to get back into reading older works in general. They have something about them that more modern works are missing in terms of pacing and theme exploration.

    This they do. Especially in pacing-- it was much more acceptable to take two pages to describe a scene or spend a couple of chapters building up to the inciting incident.

    I don't necessarily think that this or theme exploration are missing in modern works; you just have to dig a little harder to find them because of how easy it is to get a story out and into the world anymore.

    @Blackbird said in Who Inspires You?:

    @typical_demigod, @Rose Have you guys ever been to "I Write Like"?

    I actually think I've been there before, but I don't remember what I got. I copy/pasted some scenes that I've crafted out of boredom in relation to Earthlings the past few days and I kept getting Agatha Christie Which is really funny, because I've never read anything by her.

    I believe they adapted it to modern audiences. All well and good, but I'd rather read the original first.

    It's such a delicate balance to bring the original setting into something accessible for modern audiences, though. (I haven't read any Holmes stories though, so I can't say how well the shows/movies do that imo.)



  • *This they do. Especially in pacing-- it was much more acceptable to take two pages to describe a scene or spend a couple of chapters building up to the inciting incident.

    I don't necessarily think that this or theme exploration are missing in modern works; you just have to dig a little harder to find them because of how easy it is to get a story out and into the world anymore.*

    The first probably has something to do with the fact that they were written before there were things like TV or radio, certainly Internet. While books remain a form of entertainment now, that seems to be more true back before other forms of keeping oneself amused developed and became mainstream. To me, there's nothing inherently wrong with it being easier to get a story out into a wider audience than there used to be, it's just a matter of making sure the story itself is decent before (general) you try to put it out there. Or, at least be open to correction if you do and people make suggestions for improvement. It does seem (again, speaking only for myself) that yes, there are certain things missing or truncated in modern works compared to older ones.

    I do wonder how a modern audience would react if they made a TV program with the historical Holmes ascetic in place. I'm sure it would be a turnoff to some people who are looking for something more modern, but it could be interesting depending on how they do it.


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