Authors to Emulate

When I think of myself as a writer, I think of the creative works I have written. Creative writing has always been my passion and the area in which I thrive. It is hard for me to pick just one author who has influenced me as a writer, because almost all the authors I have read hold a beloved place in my memory. Throughout my childhood, I was an avid reader and I constantly read any and all works of fiction, especially fantasy, adventure, and sci-fi books. As a result, the most iconic fantasy writer of my generation has been a huge influence on my writing: J.K. Rowling. The HP series spanned a decade of my life, from age 10 when I read the first book, to age 20 when the last book was published. Growing up with a series and with the characters changed the way I felt about the creative writing process. I paid more attention to how characters develop within a novel versus how they develop over a series of novels.  Tone and humor became a major part of my focus, and I sometimes “narrate” my own work with the same voice I read Rowling’s books.

Another author who has influenced my writing is Barbara Kingsolver. I read The Poisonwood Bible my freshman year of college and fell in love with the way she writes characters. Additionally, a lot of her storylines are heavily nature-based, and anyone who knows me can see why I would seek to emulate her style. She gives Nature a character-like quality in her books, elevating it from the role of “setting.” The human characters she writes are also creative and interesting in their idiosyncrasies, and have been the inspiration for a few of my own characters.

Both of these authors have been inspiring to me for a few shared reasons.

1. They were captivating. When I was reading these books, I couldn’t put them down. I would look forward to reading every night, and I carried these books with me everywhere I went when I was reading, even to social gatherings with friends.

2. The characters were compelling. I cared about what was happening to them, and worried about what would happen to them next. The action was that much more intriguing because I was invested in the lives of the characters.

3.  Plot twists. Each of these authors always surprises me in some way. Sometimes when you read a lot, it’s easier to see the signs and pick up on foreshadowing, so plots become predictable. These authors, however, always manage to catch me by surprise with something I didn’t see coming.

I analyze how these authors execute these three elements and spend a lot of time thinking of ways I can incorporate them into my own writing. Of course, that often requires a lot of rereading on my part, but when you love a book enough, it’s not tedious to reread. It’s just like visiting old friends and asking for some advice.

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1 Comment »

  • Janet Dengel says:

    I think many writers are hesitant, even afraid, to really pay attention to and emulate the voice of their favorite writers. When you notice the narrative style of J.K. Rowling or Barbara Kingsolver and incorporate some of that into your own writing, that is when you come up with an original style that really works for you. That’s one of the most important components of reading–not just for the characters, plot, story line–but to really hear the author speak to you in their unique voice. And, what great writers they are to emulate!


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