Saturday, May 20, 2017

Books That ... Influenced My Writing

After brainstorming blog post ideas with my brother on Wednesday, I came up with an entirely new blog series to begin :) I don't share nearly enough book recommendations here, so this is going to be fun!

All writers are readers. This writer did some early morning contemplation because she wants to give credit to all those amazing books that inspired her and shaped her writing.

That's when I realized ... every book I have ever read has shaped my writing. It's all the books together that make me. But I can't share every book I've ever read (although my Goodreads is a great start).

So I tried to narrow it down for you today to ten "items" (because there's a lot of series here ...). They are listed in the order that I read them and the bold bits are new elements of writing I learned by reading them.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis

They're such a classic, how can the books my Dad read aloud when we were kids not make the list? I remember loving the stories because they were clever, imaginative, thought-provoking, and an analogy to something more. I could tell that even as a kid and I appreciated that they weren't "just kid books."

A Series of Unfortunate Events
 by Lemony Snicket

They're just really great, okay? It was the first time I'd been introduced into really snarky, ridiculous, and highly clever storytelling that somehow made sense for 13 books. The fact that Lemony Snicket himself has a story in the books just makes it that much cooler. I really loved that they included a bookworm, inventor, word definitions, and lots of secrets around words. Words were a theme ;)

Canadian West by Janette Oke

This series is my absolute favorite by her. (Don't confuse it with Return to the Canadian West.) It was one of my first series to read that covered a sweet romance past the marriage. It's like grown up Little House on the Prairie because it follows Wynn + Elizabeth for years and managed to keep it interesting.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

I love this book so much. I'm always raving about An Old-Fashioned Girl, but you really can't beat Little Women. All of the relationships in this book are fantastic and accurate, and there are so many words of wisdom for the reader as the March girls learn life lessons. Such a meaningful and insightful story.

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

This historical fiction definitely stuck with me. It's the only historical fiction I've read in the time of the Puritans. The entire is story is fiction, really, but set in a historic era when being thought a witch was actually thing. This is my inspiration for well done historical fiction ;)

The Elements of Style by William Strunk + E. B. White

I read this one for school a few years ago. It's so good! Extremely concise and covers all those sticky grammatical issues. Also, yes. E. B. White as in Charlotte's Web. I didn't realize that until recently! He came behind his admired professor William Strunk and compiled Strunk's teachings in a book.

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers
by Dave King + Renni Browne

This is the first book on the writing craft that I voluntarily bought. It addresses often badly done technique and presents the remedy and practice samples. This is a great book when you know your story lacks something in dialogue or description (pick your area) but you don't know what.

Out from Egypt Series by Connilyn Cossette

I've only read the first two books in this series. While the storytelling is excellent (but often tells more than I want it to), her Biblical historical fiction is unparalleled. The texture of manna, why Moses doesn't like speaking (it's more than he doesn't want to), the construction of the Tabernacle, Miriam's role in the new nation ... all used with historic and Hebrew terms. Such flawless foreign detail.

Out of Time Series by Nadine Brandes

I love this series so much! If I ever wrote anything dystopian, I would want it to have the creativity and purpose that Nadine's does. Everything about her world and characters stands out to me more than most books. The theme of shalom and Parvin's struggle to define God ... I can relate to a lot of it (unusual for futuristic America) and it's because Nadine got personal and is awesome. ^.^

The Merchant's Daughter 
by Melanie Dickerson

This one is on the list, because she writes excellent medieval historical fiction retellings. Since that's basically what Andora's Folly is, you can understand why I was taking notes! In this book especially, I was surprised with the quality of her Beauty and the Beast retelling because I couldn't see things coming. The terms for the local government and household items were ones I was familiar with but just finally understood.


There you have it! Have you read any of these? What books have shaped your writing? 

If you have any interest, the introductory post Books That ... I Will Love Forever is over on Teen Authors Journal.

Before you go, check out last week's beta reader sign up and a giveaway that includes Martin Hospitality!