What, or who, inspires you to write?
Like many of you, before I was a writer, I was a reader. Looking back now, it’s interesting to note the authors who inspired me to try writing my first book when I was in high school. Each of them inspired me in a different way and had a different influence on the way I deliver messages and the stylistic methodology through which I deliver them.
Here’s who I started reading when I was younger, and how they have helped me get to where I am today.
1. Meg Cabot
Author of The Princess Diaries series and a dozen other trilogies and stand-alone novels you may or may not have heard of. I honestly couldn’t tell you which book of hers was the first one I read, but still to this day I can credit the occasional burst of quirky humor in my fiction to her ever-lighthearted prose. I grew out of her teen romances pretty quickly, but I’ll always have those early years, and those circa 2009 YouTube videos of hers, at the foundation of my writing career.
2. Laurie Halse Anderson
Before Wintergirls and Catalyst came Speak, which at one point became a movie. Anderson introduced me to motif and extended metaphor and is who I blame for my tendency to implement a bit of a dark element to every story I write (whether I want to or not). She portrays the devastating consequences of mental illness and trauma in a way I only wish I could. I have always admired her bold approach to addressing issues many authors won’t. She doesn’t care if you like her storytelling mechanisms or not. That’s something we all want to be able to say, even when we can’t.
3. C.S. Lewis
Before I took an entire semester-long seminar on Lewis in college, I did what all kids, at some point, should: I read the Narnia books. It doesn’t matter if you are a person of faith or not: the way he brought so many captivating stories to life in such a unique way inspired me even before I really starting taking my writing seriously. If you have ever read any of his lesser-known works, you’ll know that he, in a way, mastered the art of saying something important as a story within a story. He doesn’t preach to you in the way many other ‘Christian writers’ do. I strongly recommend Till We Have Faces, which I have read at least three times to date.
4. Robin Jones Gunn
You probably don’t know who this is, which is to be expected. Gunn is a Christian author who I started reading early on in high school because her first series was about growing up and facing all the challenges typical teenagers face. I’m not sure exactly how to explain it, but she really influenced the messages I often send in my stories. She showed me there is a positive way to talk about challenges and that not everything has to have a sad or happy ending (but it’s okay if it does). Her stories were realistic and relatable and I really wanted to learn how to write stories like that. So I did.
Sarah Dessen and John Green, two of my favorite YA authors, are not on this list for a reason. I started writing longer works of fiction before I “discovered” them, and will have to write another post someday about authors that have continued to influence me throughout this journey growing and developing as a writer.
Who are your favorite authors? Whose style or messages have inspired you to write your own stories?
Image courtesy of Christine/flickr.com.
Meg is the managing editor at College Lifestyles magazine, a guest contributor with Lifehack and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine. She is an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner and has also written for Teen Ink and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter.