A few days ago, my awesome agent Liz Jote tweeted that female writers have been heavily influenced by Tim Burton and Neil Gaiman's styles. Thinking about it, I realized that this is true for me, even though I was not consciously aware of it. So, I thought it might be fun to talk about our positive influences. What has gone into the soil around us that has changed the flavor of the fruit we bear, so to speak?
I am a pop culture nut. I heart movies. I've always enjoyed writing, but I didn't become the avid bookavore that I am today until the 21st century, so a lot of my influence comes from the screen. Here, in no particular order, are just some examples of what I can pinpoint.
|Eye candy -- not just CGI, kids.|
1) Star Trek (2009): It is no secret that I love this movie. I watch it whenever I am about to start a new project or when I am blocked. It is, to me, the whole package. It tells a compelling story without being jumping the shark. It has emotional swings, good science/brain content, and eye candy. The score is phenomenal--helping the story come together with the viewer's emotions. The writing is tight. The acting is stellar. It is everything I want to make some day.
4) Jim Butcher: For similar reasons I named Moore, I find Jim Butcher to be one of my favorite authors and biggest influences. Where I really admire Jim, however, is in his prolific series featuring Harry Dresden. The story is entering its 13th book (plus there are several shorts in this world) and it just keeps getting better. Watching Harry Dresden, wizard for hire, save the world and his friends is entertaining. The action is spectacular, the powers/rules are intriguing and the dialogue is natural. (Also, funny. See the theme?) But, where do I find my deepest enjoyment? Watching BUTCHER grow. STORM FRONT, his first published work, feels like a debut novel. By book three, he's hitting his stride. By book six... holy shit. And he just keeps improving... honing his craft, settling into this character's world and voice. It just gets richer with time.
5.) Dr. Seuss: I have no idea where to start with him. Let's forget for just a moment that he wrote awesome stories in rhyme without sounding like an idiot (have you tried that? I have. It's HARD!). For me, the beauty of Geisel's art is the story beneath the story. Allegory, parable, call it what you want to... but he always had a message beneath his stories. No brow-beating or preaching. The hidden message was there for any one who sought to find it. There's wisdom and magic in that approach.
Others who jump to mind:
Joss Whedon (Firefly, Buffy... his philosophy on the interconnectedness of drama and humor)
Marion Zimmer Bradley (Mists of Avalon)
Daniel Quinn (The Story of B)
J. Michael Stracinzky (Babylon 5)
Many of my friend and family, past and present.
I couldn't possibly list ALL of my influences. But these are the ones that I can think of just off the top of my head.
What about you? Who gets your blood pumping? Who do you look up to? Who has changed the way you tell your stories? (And let's keep it positive. While it's valid for me to say Tron Legacy showed me how to clean up my own writing, let's not say "Stephanie Meyer is my influence because I never want to write that kind of crap." Okay?)