What Stories Influence You?

Whether you’re a writer or a reader, what you read becomes an element of the psychological sum of your parts.  Consciously or subconsciously all the words, images, and emotions associated with what you read become part of you.  They find a niche somewhere inside your mind and wait there, quietly influencing how you feel, what you think, and how you act.  They don’t control, but they do influence.  If you want to know what makes someone write what they write, look at what they read.

While I was writing the Any Tomorrow Trilogy, I remember especially during the rewriting process seeing parallels that existed between what I had written and stories I had read over the years.  I didn’t set out to make a quest novel or a river novel or a dystopian novel, yet all those storylines are very clearly there.  As you read through the Any Tomorrow novels, you might see influences from J.R.R. Tolkien (Lord of the Rings), Herman Melville (Moby Dick), Joseph Conrad (Heart of Darkness), Anthony Burgess (A Clockwork Orange), John Allyn (The 47 Ronin Story), George Orwell (1984), and Aldous Huxley (Brave New World).  There are certainly others, many of which can be found on my Goodreads bookshelf (link).

What influences what you write?  Have other authors influenced your writing style or themes?  Think back.  I hadn’t read Heart of Darkness since high school, more than thirty years ago, yet when I envisioned the Fellowship of Seven sailing up the Amazon, the dark image of Conrad’s Congo came to me.  And did you pick up on the ‘Fellowship of Seven’?  I struggled for months to find an alternate term for ‘fellowship’ because I thought it was too closely associated with Tolkien.  To me, the word ‘fellowship’ immediately conjures an association with The Fellowship of the Ring.  In the end though, I couldn’t escape it, ‘fellowship’ is the perfect term for unwilling companions compelled by an undeniable destiny who find their ultimate meaning in a world savaged by a nuclear and biological apocalypse.  Other terms just don’t have the impact.  I’m sure Tolkien realized it, that’s why he chose to use it.  That’s why, in the end, I used it also.

So what does influence you?  Why don’t you leave me a comment and let me know?  Or you can contact me via any of the social media links listed in the sidebar.  I look forward to hearing from you.


About Kevin_Fraleigh

I am a novelist, and much of my writing is predicated on the concept that within each of us is a hole. For some of us, the hole is a divot, shallow and insignificant. But for many of us the hole is a cavern, deep and expansive. We try to fill it with sex or drugs or religion, but the cavern has an insatiable appetite. This is where the dark things live―the things that fill our nightmares. The things that claw at our minds. The things that inspire the stories of horror, madness, and twisted realities. From the depths of that cavern come the seeds of my stories. Won’t you join me in the dark edges of reality? Learn more about me from my blog at anytomorrow.wordpress.com. You can find my novels at amazon.com, smashwords.com, and most eBook retailers. You can also read some of my full length short stories at http://www.wattpad.com/user/Kevin_Fraleigh
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2 Responses to What Stories Influence You?

  1. Steve Grant says:

    Very interesting post.
    My biggest influences would be David Gemmell, Jack London, and Robert E. Howard. I consider them more storytellers than writers. Although they were all bookworms, their powerful characters were often inspired from people they had actually met and interacted with.

    • bert1482 says:

      Your comment about the author’s characters being inspired by real people is important because I believe that it is almost impossible to create a character that is completely removed from our own experience, either people we have directly or indirectly encountered or ourselves. Thanks for your comment!

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