Do other authors influence your work? Do you have certain phrases or characters or a particular flow of a storyline that you return to over and over for that little kick of inspiration because the author got it so right? Or maybe a book that made you take that first plunge into the strange and uncertain territory of writing fiction?
I’ve got an “influence” library on my bookshelves, on my Kindle, and in my head. When I’m getting ready to work on a scene, or if I’m struggling with a plot point — or if I just need to remember why I’m even doing this crazy author gig — I search out books that get me through.
Sometimes I know exactly where I need to go to “see how they handled it.” Like a Diana Gabaldon lovers’ quarrel, or a Charles Dickens creepy character with name to match, or a Susan Elizabeth Phillips heroine-screws-up-bigtime scene. I’m always cataloguing which authors write great examples of settings that come alive, snarky comebacks, world building, family strife, sex scenes, crimes scenes . . . And immersing myself into books where they’re done beautifully always jumpstarts my muse.
Of course there are times when I’m not sure what it is I’m looking for and I wind up reading a zillion books searching for something that I’m sure will point me in the right direction. A certain feel, a certain flavor and mood. I just read and read, telling myself I’ll know it when I see it.
Okay, so maybe there’s a little bit of avoidance while I escape into another author’s dream. But, hey, it’s like falling for the right guy, I guess.
What’s most important is when we find that literary nugget of gold it inspires us to get to work and create a shiny new one of our own.
So, tell me, do you have an “influence” library?
The Best of WG2E Authors Reading Authors Wishes to You — Alicia Street