Stuff That Shaped My Writing

7:00 AM


In which I talk about all the things that have influenced the sorts of stories I write today, and how they possibly made me better.


I've grown a lot as a writer over the past few years. It's kinda scary and kinda awesome, because let's face it, a lot of that old stuff sucked. I've been improving somewhat (I think/hope) since then, probably because over that time period I've been dunked in a nice pool of good influences. Thinking over that, I realized that there have been things in my life that have shaped my writing in big ways, so since you obviously enjoy hearing about me all the time I'm going to talk about that. 
This should be a decent hint. 

Star Wars is probably one of the biggest ones. see? I don't remember when exactly I was exposed to these, but I was little, probably because my younger brother started watching them and I poked in out of curiosity. Needless to say, Star Wars was my childhood. Still is. It was the first introduction I had to sci-fi, especially the world of spaceships and rebels and general space awesomeness that I still love. I don't know if I'd have quite the same enthusiasm for sci-fi, or write the same kinds of stories, if Star Wars wasn't a thing. So there's that.

(Yes, I've seen The Force Awakens. Twice. Obviously I adored it with the fiery passion of a thousand moons and I'm probably gonna give it a belated review/flailing session sometime in the next few weeks.) 
Just...I'll give you one guess as to who's my favorite character of all the characters ever. 
Eoin Colfer in general. I fell in love with Artemis Fowl because it's right up my alley, which led me to the genius little thing that is Airman. I love the layers of description and the 100% snark in his books, the clever plots, the...ugh, the everything. Airman played a huge part in influencing my own Pariah, and it'll always be one of my favorites. Colfer's writing is probably closest to the style I want to mimic. 
Yes, you should absolutely read this if you like depressing prison things and lots of sarcasm. 
Neal Shusterman. 
FORGIVE ME. 
In all seriousness -- I am nowhere close to ever writing like Neal Shusterman. It's not gonna happen, people. But his books taught me about character development, and themes/morals/messages, and the right balance of disturbing and hopeful. So I probably won't match his writing level or the feels anytime soon, not to mention the genius of the world that is the Unwind dystology, but he's made me think a lot about what I'm saying in my own writing.

Twenty One Pilots even though you probably saw that coming too. It feels like I've been a fan for forever. It's only been since late summer, which is weird. But they came at a perfect time in my life -- their music has made me think about my life, and most definitely my writing. It helped me figure out and sort my thoughts regarding writing about mental illness, and coming to discover how I want to approach that in pretty much everything I write. 

So that's pretty cool/important.
This video is everythingggg. 
The Iliad//The Odyssey//assorted Greek plays. I focused on this during Ancient History last year and loved every second of it. I have a soft spot for the ancient Greek stories, especially the Iliad -- and I think they're crucial reads. Going through them slowly made me see just how smart and layered they are, how much they have to say about humanity in its rawest form. Honor and gore and sportsmanship and friendship and angst and all that good stuff, too. Not to mention the fact that the writing is 1000000% perfect and got pounded into my head until I could feel my sentences getting smoother.

That's always a plus. 

I could keep going, but we'll end on an important one: 

LOST. THIS TV SHOW, YOU GUYS. I don't cry over shows very easily but this brought gross sobbing out of my stone heart multiple times. It's weird. It's twisty. I don't know how they made it work. The characters are layered, they're people, they grow and change and develop and it's heart-wrenching how absolutely human they are. The symbolism is subtle at times but they nailed it. You could spend years studying the ins-and-outs of that thing you could possibly stretch to call a plot, and still have cool bits to find. This show taught me more about writing in six seasons that I've picked up in most of the writing books I've read. (Which just confirms my theory that the best way to learn how to write is to consume stories, but that's a post for another day.) 
Let's not forget the sarcasm oozing out of every episode. 
There are so many other things that I've drawn inspiration from -- because really, isn't that what writers do? We steal stuff from other people and turn it into something we can call our own. I tried to weed out the most crucial things, though, to give you a look at what's been drawn into my stories and my writing process. Hopefully it was coherent, because I'm never not exhausted lately. 

See ya. 

What has inspired and shaped your writing? 

28 comments

  1. Reading the Ilyon Chronicles by Jaye L. Knight. I have the two thousand word story I wrote before that and I read it the other day, and basically put it in a folder to be eaten by moths and dust bunnies (and hopefully not my dog)

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    1. Oh, and I loooove the song Ride as well. I'm listening to it right now.

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    2. I need to read those! They've been on my TBR for forever, but my library doesn't have them and I'm broke most of the time. But I'm hoping I can get to it soon.

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    3. They are so good! It's totally worth it to buy them. :D

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  2. The Hobbit movie was what got me started writing. Right after I watched it, I wrote a fanfiction about it even though I knew nothing about LOTR (looking back I was extremely off). It was filled with sarcasm, elves, and Disney (?) ... Don't ask me why Disney was in there.

    After that, books by Molly Evangeline/Jaye L. Knight, Go Teen Writers, the Out of Time Trilogy, my writing buddies, Pinterest, and the LOTR soundtrack have been my biggest inspirations.

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    1. LotR is another big one for me! I devoured those books and the movies when I'm still younger, and as I've gotten older I've also moved more into Tolkien's deeper stories and mythologies surrounding Middle Earth. It's something that means a lot to me.

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  3. Oh, gosh, I love Eoin Colfer. The Artemis Fowl series is probably one of my biggest inspirations. And Star Wars, obviously. And Lord of the Rings. I was also HUGELY inspired by S.E. Hinton, Melina Marchetta, Megan Whalen Turner, Rick Yancey, Michael Buckley, and, most recently, Lev Grossman. Great post :)

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  4. These are all amazing. Lord of the Rings and Narnia were huge influences to me and somehow still are, and my love for them continues to grow,

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  5. Ooh, I just started Lost, and I'm already getting attached to obviously doomed characters, so that's fun.
    I will say once again, I'm not really a writer. I wrote a lot when I was younger, but for years I sort of just mentally wrote things and never put them on paper, because frankly I'm pretty rubbish at the whole thing. It's only been in the past couple years that I've started actually working on things again.
    Greek mythology, Robin Hood, LoTR, Narnia, and Star Wars all sort of inspired my writing in the first place, and they still influence me.
    I swear I can write sentences that don't horrifically abuse commas.
    But I was up until 2 AM.

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    1. Have fun with the LOST feels. *nods wisely*

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  6. I so did NOT expect to see Neal Shusterman on this list. *gasps* You are FULL of surprises, Aimee, definitely. ;)
    ahem.
    But I love love posts like this, because it's so awesome to look back at the things that shaped our little writerly souls. I definitely blame Narnia for even STARTING me writing. And also Supernatural? Like I think it inspired me to realise I could write more about family and it would be awesome. And, ya know, kill supernatural stuff, because that's fun too. ALSO MAGGIE STIEFVATER. <3

    I also like how you have a mix of shows, books, movies, and music here. Clearly you are awesome. But, pfft, you already knew that.

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    1. Oh, of course. I surprised myself -- I don't know why I would put Neal Shusterman on here. It's not like he's important to me, after all.

      NARNIA IS THE BEST. And thank you! I feel like I've been shaped by so many things other than books, although I'm a 100% bookish person in the end.

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  7. Lack of sleep has inspired my writing greatly.

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    1. As well as any sort of writing/TV/movie that is slightly creepy in a cool way. Or anything with laser swords.

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  8. EOIN COLFER. EOIN COLFER. AND EOIN COLFER. (I love his work so much that for my graduation present I got all the signed Artemis Fowl books.) Airman is so under appreciated and I feel more people should be reading it/shoving it in other people's faces. Also Star Wars.

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    1. YESSS I give Airman to everyone because it's perfect and I swear no one's read it.

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  9. You've read Airman! Yes! I feel like that book is so under appreciated compared to his Artemis Fowl books. Like, I love Artemis Fowl, don't get me wrong, but Airman is such a hidden gem. I love that book to bits. Anyway. I can't really pinpoint one thing that got me writing, but I've certainly drawn a lot of inspiration and had my writing shaped by a multitude of sources. I've definitely taken a lot of inspiration from Tolkien (my first couple of attempts at writing novels severely ripped off the spider event from The Hobbit). Also shows like Spooks, or Waking The Dead got me into writing thrillers. And then there were books like The Rangers Apprentice, The Raven Boys, The Lunar Chronicles, and The Seer and the Sword, that really inspired my writing a lot. It's so interesting to look back and see what helped you develop as a writer, isn't it? I loved seeing yours.

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    1. Airman is fantastic and I wish more people had read it. *sighs*

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  10. SW has been huge in inspiring me in my stories as well. And I look forward to this belated fangirling session. *grins*
    I would say The Lord of the Rings and Narnia have been huge in inspiring me in my writing. I'm not too huge on writing fantasy anymore, but Tolkien's and Lewis' worlds and stories have inspired me in many ways since I was young.

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    1. I can't wait to write that fangirling session. :P

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  11. I love this list! Especially LOST. I started watching it recently and just realized that I'm already halfway through season 5 and it's going to be over TOO SOON. *Ahem* But yes, the writing is amazing, definitely something I want to aim for with my writing.

    ~Emily

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    1. LOST HURTS SO MUCH. *flails in a distressed manner*

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  12. I need to start watching LOST, I just do. I've been meaning to for forever. *bangs head against wall*

    Star Wars didn't get me hooked on Science Fiction, because I was already hooked when I started watching, but it definitely made a huge impact on me. And I'm so happy with The Force Awakens, I could die. :P Poe is my favorite character as well. *hugs him*

    I had actually never heard of Twenty-One Pilots before you started talking about them, and now...yeah, I kind of love them A LOT. Their lyrics are so twisty and thoughtful and honest. *hugs them*

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  13. So I'm guessing you like Neil Shusterman?? I've never actually, uh, read any of his books ... I will though! Because the whole world is like NEIL SHUSTERMAN at my head all the time so one day I'll cave ...

    I've not actually read the Iliad BUT I am a massive Aeneid fan and also a bit obsessed/in love with Horace? I'm writing a dissertation about Horace and he is such a bae <3 <3 <3

    In terms of my own Stuff, here's definitely the place to shout HARRY POTTER because it was one of the first fantasy series I loved and just ... is everything.

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hey. hey. talk to me. i'm a fan of comments and flailing with you. go for it.