Monday, June 15, 2009

What Influences Your Writing?

Firstly, I apologize for being so late.  My summer is turning out much more hectic than I expected. I'm playing in the pit orchestra for a student summer production of Beauty and the Beast. Rehearsals/show have been last week, this week, and next week, pretty much every night (Sound of Music is right on its heels in July).  I love the music.  It's just tiring to play a show every night. So that is my life right now, plus the creative writing class, volunteering for a Chinese charity organization, and doing a research project for the history museum.  I'm supposed to be studying for the LSAT, but that's not really happening.

I thought this week we could talk about our influences in writing.  Lol, this is so vague.  I'm sorry. Just run wild with it.  You don't even have to go in the same direction as me.  You can be as broad or specific as you want.  I'll list three things.

1) Books I read.  How obvious is this.  Let me just get it out of the way.  Of course things you read influence what you write.  I'm sure we can all attest to this.  After I read Donna Jo Napoli and A Great and Terrible Beauty etc. I was all about writing in present tense.  When I read characters I like, I incorporate (sometimes unconsciously) my favorite aspects about their personalities into my own characters.  Did that make sense?  I don't even know.  I keep hearing B&tB music in my head and seeing horrible 5 sharp key signatures dance across my eyes.  Anyway, although I don't like to admit it, I do try to imitate the styles of authors I like.  I think I said once I don't usually write with novels sitting next to me because even their presence immediately influences what I write.  The style can change quite drastically.  And I find if I'm reading something present tense, I sometimes accidentally start writing in it too, and I have to backtrack to past tense (which is what ATRS is in).

2) Craft books and random website tips.  I've read Stein On Writing and Plot & Structure.  Also, my creative writing textbook?  Surprisingly useful.  I've been reading the fiction chapters, and it's as good as any craft book out there.  It's called Creative Writer's Handbook by Jason and Lefcowitz.  There's a bunch of poetry and memoir stuff in there that I disregard (my prof. need not know about this).  I also started reading Donald Maass's Writing the Breakout Novel at Borders, and it might be a new favorite of mine.  I highly recommend it.  I like to gather these facts and make my writing technically better.  My writing has gotten better since I've actively tried to improve it.  Although, I mean to argue later this week that sometimes, too many "tips" can ruin your writing style.  Stay tuned.

3) Greek mythology/songs.  I'm combining this because "Greek mythology" is too DUH of an influence.  Come on, that's basically what ATRS is: blown up Greek mythology.  Rarely, but often enough (making no sense, yet again), a song will throw a brick at my face and be like, "Here, look!  A story!  Write it down!"  Even when songs don't come with a story attached, I am one of those dorky people who likes to assign a playlist to the stuff I write.  Or just one song, if it's a short story.  I also assign playlists to books I read.  But I will dive under a rampaging bus before I tell you what the songs are.  I'm not brave like Stephenie Meyer.

The people for the rest of the week are:

We are finally done with the poetry unit of my class.  Onto prose (woooo).  Poetry is not my element at all.  I love reading it, but I feel so awkward writing it.


  1. Those are good influences! I get influenced a little by books, especially with blowing things up and violence %-) That applies to video games, anime and films.

    I get influenced just be chatting to people about writing. I get inspired and more enthusiastic to write.

  2. I'm so with you on the music thing, only I have my playlist all set to go once my sister gets my website up and running. Of course, as you know music plays a pretty big part in one of my charcaters lives so I kinda have to share.

    WOW are you busy! But look at all the awesome stuff you're doing. I feel bad having you read my story in the midst of all that. Good luck with the show, what a cool experience!

  3. Yunaleska, I forgot to include movies. They make for great inspiration.

    Rebecca, don't feel bad! Reading is not a chore. :-)

  4. *am very jealous*

    I love the Beauty and the Beast music!

    I read, rest, and keep busy to get my inspiration. :D

  5. Haha, I agree with the movie thing. My best friend and I both ran screaming right to our computers after we saw 17 Again. Who knew Zac Efron could be so inspiring? lol, good post!