Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Under the influence

Star Wars.

That was it.

I was seven years old when Star Wars (now known as Episode IV) came out. Please, oh please, don't do the math to figure out how old that makes me.

I was simply blown away by Star Wars. It opened my imagination to ways I didn't think were possible--in a chemical free way. Here was a world with interesting characters, action, adventure, good, evil and most of all, great pacing and storytelling.

The movie inspired what types of books I read, TV shows I watched, and even music I listened to. All these years later, I still find myself drawn to sci-fi, and to some point, fantasy. (Yes, they are two different genres)

I, too, read Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Bradbury. They were certainly influential.

However, I'd say the inspiration I draw from now, both good and bad, are from more recent books I've read.

Here are a list of authors I've enjoyed / learned from:

(I'm sure this will raise a few eyebrows--but everyone is entitled to their opinion)

Greg Keyes His book, The Briar King, is an all time favorite. He has an amazing talent for developing characters. Plus, his pacing is outstanding. I'd like to think my writing style is the most like his.

Michael A. Stackpole His four part series, The DragonCrown War, is brilliant. He's unpredictable--something I've "borrowed".

Gerald N. Lund The Work and the Glory series is a masterpiece of historical fiction. Excellent character development.

Dan Brown Say what you will about his subject matter, but the man knows how to keep you glued to a book.

L. Ron Hubbard I'm proud to say I really enjoyed his novel Battlefield Earth. It's epic. It's smart. It's riveting. It's a shame that the movie was soooooooooo bad, and not even close to the book, that it's given the title a bad name.

Robert Jordan If only the rest of The Wheel Of Time books were as good as the first one in the series. Rest his soul, Jordon was one of the few people in the world that could take 80 pages to describe someone walking across a room. While his books are amazing, the pacing is too slow for my taste.

J. K. Rowling Again, outstanding imagination--the ability to create a unique world using somewhat familiar, therefore relatable, elements. Sadly, I think the Harry Potter series peaked with the 4th book. Books 6 and especially 7 seemed to be long for the sake of being long with a lot of back story and filler.

(Send hate mail to Dan Harrington. He'll make sure I get it)

Here's the best part: now that I've gotten involved in the writing community, I get to draw from all sorts of great authors. Don't be surprised in a few years when you see the names Young, West, Harrington, Cole, Pinkston and Mueller (and maybe even Morgan) appear on lists like these.


  1. I completely agree with your assessment of Robert Jordan. His world and characters were awesome, but the pacing was so slow that I couldn't help but eventually discard the series.

    I haven't read Gerald Lund, but one evening I happened to watch "The Work and the Glory" film, and it was awesome. I was completely pulled into the lives of the characters and their situation. Incidentally, I saw "September Dawn" a night or two later. Talk about a shift in perspective.

    Oh, and as a general announcement, I charge extra postage for hate mail. = )

  2. I was three, I think, when Star Wars came out. (Haha, I'm younger!) It's the first movie I remember watching in the theater. I like your list of authors.

  3. Periodically I will try to convince someone to read Battlefield Earth and mostly they are too poisoned by either the movie or Scientology to give it a try. It's unfortunate because they are missing out on one of the best Sci-Fi books out there.
    And I agree that Rowling got a bit too expository in the final stages, but you have to admit the last part of book seven was pretty epic.
    I recommend Dan Simmons for his fluid prose and imagination and Neal Stephenson just because his language is so fun (but talk about long and expository...).
    It Just Got Interesting

  4. That's a lot of good authors that have influenced you! I think it's best to read from a good variety of authors in your genres--you pick things up from all of them over time.
    - Nicholas