Monday, November 20, 2006

My influences

Below is a list of authors who have had the biggest influence on my wanting to be a writer:

1.) Stephen King. I like anything he has written, even the not-so-good stuff and his short stories. He might not be the best writer to ever live, but in my opinion he is the best story teller of the last 30 years (at least). More than any other writer, when I read a King book, it makes me WANT to be a novelist.

2.) J.R.R. Tolkien. The Hobbit was the first fantasy novel I ever read, so I have to say ole J.R.R. has had a big influence on me, even though he's not necessarily my favorite fantasy author. I like The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring best.

3.) Andrew J. Offutt. I've probably only read a dozen or so short stories by this author, but his Hanse Shadowspawn shorts from the Thieves' World series are some of my all-time favorite sword and sorcery stories. My own Kron Darkbow is a very distant relation to Hanse, though I'm sure they would hate one another if they ever met.

4.) Don Pendleton and Mike Newton. I put these two authors together because they worked on a series of men's action/adventure novels called "The Executioner," about a Vietnam vet named Mack Bolan who returns from the war to spread vengeance upon the mafia for killing his family. Marvel Comic's Punisher character is based upon these short novels. While The Executioner books are basically modern, cheap pulp action stories with lots of guns and some gore, they are great tools for learning how to write action. Don and Mike were the earliest writers in the series, and a score or more of writers have taken on the series since.

5.) Alexandre Dumas. Specifically, "The Three Musketeers," though I love everything I've read by Dumas. He is my favorite classical author. "The Three Musketeers" is sort of like Forrest Gump for me; it seems to contain a wide swath of the human condition, and human emotion. While Musketeers is often portrayed as a simple adventure story in the movies, it is so much more. A single movie could not begin to encompass all the Dumas brought to his story of the Muskeeters. Yes, the novel has its share of action and adventure, but it has much, much more ... love, hate, sadness, revenge, defeat, victory ... on and on. Dumas' Athos is one of my all-time favorite characters, and Athos would not be the same man without Aramis, Porthos and d'Artagnan.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your list looks rather like mine, but I'll have to check out an Executioner novel. I haven't read any of those.

It's a good thing, too, that your reading influences go beyond the kind of stuff you write. You can learn a lot of stuff that will help you write one genre when you read beyond that genre.