I cannot deny that I’ve been doing a lot more reading than writing these past few weeks. I feel kind of guilty when that happens, and I have to remind myself how much my excessive reading is necessary to my writing. It’s how I got into writing in the first place, which I think is true for almost everyone. These days I can count it as research—bonus points if it actually is a nonfiction, informational book about the time period my historical fiction novel is taking place in (I did read one of those last week! Ten points for Gryffindor!). I struggle with research. I feel guilty unless I’m writing. I take comfort in the fact that the author of The Book Thief, Markus Zusak, felt similarly and his historical fiction novel is light-years beyond I could dream of mine being. I try to give myself permission to just read. I would be nowhere without the countless examples of other authors. They constantly inspire me to keep going.
On that note, you’ve possibly seen going around Facebook a chain-letter type post where you list the top books that have influenced your life and then tag other people to do the same. My aunt tagged me in one of them recently, and I eventually decided to play along. When I think along the lines of what books have “influenced my life,” I automatically think of what books have most influenced my writing. It’s really hard to pick, so I changed it to favorite authors as well as books (I’m a cheater). It brought back great childhood memories of when I first start scribbling down my own stories, shamelessly plagiarizing every tactic I saw my favorite authors using (You’ll have to forgive my taste back then. I was about 8 or 9 probably). So, I thought I would share that list with you and invite you to make your own if you haven’t.
Disclaimer: This is potentially one of the most gut-wrenching, awful decisions ever. It’s like picking favorite children. To quote Ever After (best movie): “I could no sooner pick a favorite star in the heavens.” So, here they are, in no particular order whatsoever, and I’ve definitely left some great ones out:
- 1. Jane Austen- all 7 of em
- 2. J.K. Rowling- Harry Potter
- 3. Virginia Woolf- “A Room of Her Own,” Mrs. Dalloway
- 4. Marilynne Robinson- The Gilead, Home
- 5. Barbara Kingsolver- Poisonwood Bible
- 6. L.M. Montgomery- actually more for the Emily of New Moon books than Anne of Green Gables. Sorry everyone.
- 7. Tamora Pierce- the Lioness Quartet, the two Trickster books, etc.
- 8. Ann M Martin- Babysitter’s Club. I have to put it. She got me writing when I was a little kid.
- 9. Deb Caletti- Honey, Baby, Sweetheart got me through my teenage years!
- 10. Louisa May Alcott- Little Women, and also the biography about her and her dad that’s not at all written by her, but it’s awesome!