Friday, October 10, 2008

Under the influence, so to speak

Tip of the Day: Next week is Teen Read week! To celebrate here at Author2Author, we’re interviewing five debut authors with books coming out in 2009. Come back next week and join us for a ton of fun!

So, my agent and her clients are now doing a blog. It’s called A Crowe’s Nest because her last name is, you know, Crowe. Isn’t that fun?

Anyway, for a post that will go up later this month (the 23rd to be exact), I’ve been working on a list of five books that have helped me become the writer I am today. Oy. What an exercise! You should try it some time and see what you come up with! Because we’re not talking five favorite books. We’re talking five books that have influenced you and your writing.

The thing is, I feel like every book influences my writing in some way, big or small. I don’t feel like I was born with a ton of talent for this writing thing. Some, maybe. But mostly, I read as much as I can and try to learn from it.

In almost every on-line interview I’ve done, I’m asked why I write in verse and if all of my books will be in verse. Here’s the thing - I’ve only written two books in verse, one of which is out there for everyone to read and another which will be out there in a few short months. I had written a handful of novels NOT in verse that never went anywhere. So, no, not all of my books are written in verse. And in the future they will not all be in verse. Verse only works in certain types of stories, and I will use it when it suits the story.

But I think I may be slightly better at writing in verse than writing in prose. Which might seem weird to some people. But lots of description and details is just not my thing. I’m working on it. Man am I working on it! And I think I’m getting better at it. I hope so anyway.

So what’s my point? I so admire books with great description and details. Like Sarah Dessen’s books, for example. She creates such vivid characters and pictures with her words. I am in awe. Are my current books anything like Sarah’s? No, not really. And yet, she’s on my list of five. Because one of her books was one of the first YA books I read and every time I read one of her books, she makes me want to be a better writer.

As I was making my list, I had a few thoughts, which is really the point of my post today. First, we do the best we can with what we have, and work to our strengths. Secondly, we read other books and admire the abilities of other authors to do that which we may not do so well, and strive to do better. And finally, we give thanks that there are all kinds of books for all kinds of readers. Because hey, if there’s a teen out there who isn’t particularly fond of Sarah Dessen’s books (ha!), who knows, maybe she'll like mine.

Is there one book that pops into your brain as you think about books that have influenced your writing?

~Lisa, Miss Pinch Me I’m Pubbed


Emily Marshall said...

Sarah's books incluence my writing, too. Because I'm horrible at writing description and characters with depth. So I always go to her books for inspiration in those areas. For pure fun and fast paced writing examples I go to Meg Cabot's books, since they were what got me into YA novels. I think all books help with stuff though. When I need help with the mysteries in my book, I just pull something from the library, and try to determine if it works and why.

Beth Fehlbaum, Author said...

Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian did not so much influence my writing when I was writing my debut novel (published 9/1/08), but it was in reading it later that I could see parallels between our writing styles. As for the original inspiration for my own novel, I'd have to say that it's a cross between Chris Crutcher's Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, and Ironman.
Congrats, by the way, on being published!
Beth Fehlbaum, author
Courage in Patience, a story of hope for those who have endured abuse
Ch. 1 & Book Trailer are online!