1. Ashley Harrison
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    Ashley Harrison Active Member

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    What author influenced you most, to pursue writing?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Ashley Harrison, Feb 18, 2016.

    For me, Ben Elton is my literary idol. He was famous before becoming a novelist, being an indomitable television writer and stand-up comedian. I was fortunate enough to find out how to contact him personally, in 2006 and bless my stars, he was magnanimous enough to send a hand written letter of reply. I treasure that letter to this day, by having it framed in my living room. If I was one tenth as talent and successful as my idol Ben Elton, I'd be an extremely happy guy.

    What author, above all others, has inspired you to follow in their footsteps and become a novelist?
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Frank Herbert

    I had read a bajillion books before reading DUNE, but DUNE was the watershed moment for me (I was 9 or 10 maybe) when I realized that a novel can be layered. There can be a surface story, a deeper story, and a running question the story is asking. It can be many things more than just what's happening to the people in the story.
     
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  3. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Lois McMaster Bujold. Without question and denial :D

    She creates characters who come to life, are not perfect. But they grow with you, and in their responses you find answers to question you have not asked.

    Of course, her gripping storylines don't hurt either..
    Maybe that is not such a deep reason as Wrey has, but I love these answers she gives, because they come out of myself.
     
  4. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    I have more than one. Clive Barker, Timothy Zahn, and Roger Zelazny. Two Sci-Fi authors and a hardcore Horror author, what more do you need?
     
  5. Ashley Harrison
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    Ashley Harrison Active Member

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    Do you like the rest of the sequels in the 'DUNE' series?
     
  6. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I like all the ones that were actually written by him. The ones written by his son Bryan.... they're hollow. They're just surface. He has the rights to the props of the DUNE universe, and sadly it seems that's all he has. But, I'm not surprised. Frank was of a certain generation. He's a contemporary of the Beat writers, and it's my personal theory that he and Samuel R. Delany are the lost Beat writers. No one would ever call those two Beat writers, but in their own ways they also were desperate to break with what had come before and to give a more honest portrayal of lives outside the predetermined "in the box" norm. Bryan Herbert didn't live that life, so it's not surprising to me that he lacks his father's soul in writing, for lack of a better term.
     
  7. Shbooblie
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    Shbooblie Contributing Member

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    For me Chuck Palahniuk is my biggest influence. I find his style of writing so accessible and easy going yet he manages to write about really niche and sometimes jarring topics. I'm not remotely interested in large groups of anarchic fighting men or pornography but yet I'll read a whole book of his on the topic and actually enjoy it because he has a really strong voice. That's what I want to be able to do.
     
  8. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Mary Stewart. I not only loved her stories, but found myself comfortable working in her 'voice.' Or at least my version of it.

    I didn't do this on purpose, but because her method of building a story appealed to me so much, it's the way my own storytelling developed. I don't know if anybody else would see this (I rather hope not!) but I certainly feel her influence to this day.

    My novel is very different from hers, but her voice, the way her characters tend to see the world, made a huge impact on me.
     
  9. Ashley Harrison
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    Ashley Harrison Active Member

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    I agree whole heartedly, that a writer shouldn't have their work subsumed by another writer, even if they are their own family.

    Two examples that come to mind, that I don't like are Andrew Neiderman ghostwriting for V.C. Andrews and David Lagercrantz taking over Stieg Larsson's 'Millennium' series.
     
  10. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Just one!?
    Don't think I can do it.
    Though Louise Fitzhugh's Harriet the Spy definitely got the ball rolling.

    But when I purchased Henry Bellaman's Kings Row at a flea Market that probably had a big influence because it was right about the time when I started my own novel inspired by Twin Peaks. I paid homage to the book by naming one of my characters Cassandra.

    Same time I loved- Richard Peck's Secrets of the Shopping Mall, Norma Fox Mazer - Mrs Fish, Ape and me, The Dump Queen, Evan Hunter's Last Summer. Caroline B Cooney's The Perfume.

    Later on I added - Nabokov's Lolita, Anne Tyler's Morgan's Passing, Marguerite Young's Miss Macintosh, My Darling. and so and so on.

    Unfortunately I have a knack for latching onto authors that don't have a big body of work - Lygia Fagundes Telles, Thom Metzger, Sylvia Cassedy, Shelley Katz, Lois Gould.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2016
  11. Ashley Harrison
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    Ashley Harrison Active Member

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    Yes, there's some obscure authors names there. I like going against the grain and reading authors that people find contemptuous, it's much better than following the herd.
     
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  12. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with you here. I picked Frank because he was my first. Other writers influenced me greatly after that, but always in a similar vein to Frank. Samuel R. Delany showed me that the idea that genre fiction is somehow inherently less than literary fiction is complete bullshit, and Octavia Butler taught me that questions are infinitely more interesting than answers.
     
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  13. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    There's a few herds I follow but for the most part I can't stand some of the pedestal authors anymore - King? He was mediocre at best. The only kudos he deserves is that he continually puts out for his fans. But king of horror? I can think of four other authors that put his stuff to shame.

    Well sometimes genre fiction deserves it's label, as a reader of gothic romance I've seen a lot of crap - but I agree that genre fiction doesn't automatically mean less. Sometimes I think there should be a hybrid term - Literary/genre cause Delany is leaps above the likes of Simak.
    It's like Vonnegut to say he's sci-fi just doesn't cut it.
     
  14. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Andrew Neiderman was a better writer before the whole V.C. Andrews fiasco. He had his own style and some interesting plots. Most of which seemed to have gotten flattened by trying to regurgitate the same story over the last few decades.
    I don't know why they didn't just try a V.C. Andrews type line under an umbrella company like Harlequin and let authors duke it out trying to come up with claustrophobic incest epics. Might've been more fun.
     
  15. Ashley Harrison
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    Ashley Harrison Active Member

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    I like 'The Devil's Advocate' by Andrew Neiderman, but he was a published novelist before then, in his own right. For the life of me, I don't know why he had to jump on the 'Dollanganger' series and other works by V.C. Andrews?
     
  16. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    :rofl: You'll learn, Ashley, that Peach has a way with words. :bigwink:
     
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  17. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I have a few of his old paperbacks and I recall one had a recommendation from V.C. Andrews on it. It was pretty standard back then to put a quote from a big name author to help boost sales. So maybe Andrews was a fan? I have no idea how those quotes actually worked. If the authors actually read the work or a publisher sent them a synopsis and said give me a quick quote or what. Some of the comments by King back then seemed over generous to the point of b.s.

    The only way I could see Neiderman accepting was a steady paycheck. He probably didn't make that kind of money under his own name. Plus Zebra horror books was getting a bad reputation by then - it was dubbed zero horror by readers.

    I liked his book Playmates - he could really draw out the suspense, I think one of the characters spent a whole chapter trying to climb out of a well.

    I try. But it's easy to zing Flowers in the Attic ... so much ammo. Lol
     
  18. Ashley Harrison
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    Ashley Harrison Active Member

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    I haven't read 'Playmates', maybe I should cut Andrew Neiderman some slack and give the book a read.
     
  19. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I happily suggest both Delany and Butler as well. Butler is easy to get into. She has a pragmatic, no nonsense approach to her writing. Delany, though... He's like getting onto a boat and the sea is a little choppy. It takes a bit to get your sea-legs. :bigwink: So worth it, though. :agreed:
     
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  20. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    He's not the greatest but he's not bad.
    Always has interesting ideas. I haven't read his new stuff - just the old - Pin, Imp, Child's Play, Playmates, Teacher's Pet, Someone's Watching, Tender Loving Care, Brainchild. I prefer him to Stephen King - certainly read more of his books but then, I was never a big King fan.
     
  21. Ashley Harrison
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    Ashley Harrison Active Member

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    Child's Play is great, I must admit. It hadn't come across you weren't a fan of Stephen King. :D
     
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  22. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    Derek Landy had a big impact on me because it's his style of third-person with perspective and switching between characters that I have adopted, it works so well I didn't notice I was following his exact formula until well after I started using it. `
     
  23. Ashley Harrison
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    Ashley Harrison Active Member

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    I've done that before, I didn't realise I was writing in the style of Ben Elton, until I started reading his latest novel. I thought this voice is awfully familiar, oh yeah I've been writing in an imitation of Ben Elton's verbiage. I really must stop doing that.
     
  24. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    I don't consider what I do to be an imitation. I just repeated the perspective element, there' a lot more to it than that. My style is still definitely my own.
     
  25. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Hard to go wrong with Zelazny.
     
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