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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » What Inspired You?

   
Author Topic: What Inspired You?
J. N. Khoury
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If you had to pick the one book or series of books that most inspired you to begin writing, what would it be?

My answer: The Westmark Trilogy by Lloyd Alexander


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akeenedesign
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Harry Potter got me writing.
Orson Scott Card got me writing seriously.

As a teenager, I took the characters I loved from the Harry Potter universe and created stories about them that hadn't been told. How did Hermione first use magic before she knew that she was a wizard? What kinds of things did James and Lily fight about with each other before they died to protect Harry? It wasn't until I created a completely original character with only a few connections to the world that JK Rowling created that I realized "I'm almost writing my own stuff now... I could totally do this for real."

Admittedly, I first came to OSC's site looking for fan fiction. I figured there had to be something, and that's when I found all of the resources for writers here on the site. I absorbed everything he wrote about in his "writing lessons" section, and began purchasing books about how to write, and began to write my own original fiction.


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Crystal Stevens
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My inspiration to try writing my own stories started when I was a kid in the 1960's. It probably started with writing one page stories for English class in 7th & 8th grade. I always got anywhere from an A to a B- on story construction and a bit lower for grammar and spelling. One of my English finals in High School was to writing a longer short story around 5 to 10 pages. Again, I did well. Back then all I thought about was horses. I read every book I could find about horses--fiction & non-fiction--and really fell in love with the Black Stallion & Island Stallion books by Walter Farley.

Junior High (what most people today call Middle School) is where I started reading science fiction and fantasy. Some was excellent with others pure junk. The junky books were what inspired me to write my own. To my way of thinking, if someone could write that terrible of a story and get published, I just knew I could do better. That was the start of my trilogy that I haven't looked at for quite some time. It took a backseat to other writing projects.

I didn't think about submitting until about 15 years ago. I figured I better finish something first, and finished my trilogy. Then I started reading books on writing and publishing. By then, I had my first computer and began looking for a forum to learn more and where to begin a possible writing career. And that's when I found Hatrack.

And the rest, as they say, is history .


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redux
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I love Lloyd Alexander! He's such a great writer and story teller.

I don't think there's any series in particular that inspired me to write - I'm having a really hard time pinpointing it. I do remember writing my own Sidney Sheldon style stories as a teen. Sidney Sheldon was a "master of the game" - one bestseller after another.

Long before that, as a child I used to draw my own picture books. I drew inspiration from Rudyard Kipling's "Riki-Tiki-Tavi" and Arlene Mosel's "Tikki Tikki Tembo." So maybe I owe the writing bug to picture books.

[This message has been edited by redux (edited May 15, 2011).]


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telflonmail
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Tie:

  • The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  • On the Road by Jack Kerouac[/i]

Alternate: The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin

but, it was the short stories of Harlan Ellison that "broke the camels back" so to speak. As Harlan would say: "The trick is not becoming a writer. The trick is staying a writer."


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skadder
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Pain.
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Natej11
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Tolkien. I read the Hobbit and then the Lord of the Rings trilogy when I was in third grade, and at least once through every four or five years since then. I always wanted to write since reading his books, but it was while reading the fourth book of Jordan's Wheel of Time that I finally began seriously writing.
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JohnColgrove
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This isn't a series of books or anything, but Zelda A link to the past first got me writing when the game came out haha. I quit for a while then started back up when I was having emotional issues (in a short way) and I was serious about it from there. Actually though most of my thirty something series of novels are meant to be video games.
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LDWriter2
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I will think about it more but right now I say reading and my own imagination and desires. One of the very first stories I wrote when I was knee high to a grasshopper, was based on a Wild Wild West story. I brought it up to our time and added a few things, like the Fourth of July. I hand wrote it and asked a friend to read it. I don't think he did. Since then, and probably before, I have been writing. At that time mostly in my head.
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Owasm
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Jack Vance's Demon Prince series, plus his Emphyrio
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RoxyL
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So I didn't start writing because of a book, though I was a voracious reader (I remember reading Little House in the Big Woods when I was six). At bedtime my mother and my sister and I would tell stories to each other. I think that's what began it all for me because I know I was writing my own stuff by 2nd grade. Loved Walter Farely, too, and around 12 I picked up Anne McCaffrey's Dragonsinger and I suppose that was my first bout of trying to write like another author. Anyway, loved it. Can't believe I stopped writing for 20 years. Glad I'm back at it.
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tripper
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I'm not sure where the spark came from. If I had to think about writers that inspired me and made me think I had stories to tell, it would be OSC, Jordan, Modesitt, Tolkien. I also remember going through middle school/high school/college writing assignments and loving them, really enjoying the process of storytelling.
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axeminister
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Choose Your Own Adventure books.

I couldn't get them fast enough, so I wrote one.
That satisfied the craving. =)

Axe


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Axis Dervan
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I remember reading Robert Cormier's 'I am the cheese' in middle school for an English class. It was the most depressing book I had read up to that point, and i was fascinated by that. That's when I really started reading. It was his depressing themes that hooked me into writing. I was an angry child, and I'm ashamed to say I was a bit of a bully. The idea of creating stories and torturing my protagonists to no end was appealing, and that's why I started writing.

[This message has been edited by Axis Dervan (edited May 18, 2011).]


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jcavonpark
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For me it was different. I didn't start because of a book, I started because my friend had an idea. I remember it well. We were in high school and it was after the school day was over, and he came over to hang out at my place (my parents turned our garage into a kind of hang out pad for me and my friends, so we went there to chill just about every day). He said he and his other friend wrote half page stories about the end of the world. He started telling me about it and I read what he wrote, and I couldn't shake how great of an idea it was.

That was what prompted me to write my first story. I said I would write one like his, but then what began as a one page hand-written story turned into about 35 pages of epic space exploration about me and my friends. It was horribly written, but I had a great time.

After that, I started going onto forums, specifically smashboards.com (haven't been there in about 8 years now, but I'm sure it's still around), and found that people posted fanfiction there about their favorite games. I decided to give it a go, and I wrote a Zelda fanfic about the missing fourth triforce piece. It was again a horribly written story with terrible plot structure, but I loved it anyway.

I never finished that story, but I kept writing fanfics anyway. I started moving into more serious stories as the years fell by, eventually migrating into science fiction as I began to read it.

The first scifi book I ever read was Halo: the Fall of Reach. I'd never read a book for fun before, so it was really my transition phase. The book is written poorly, but it was still enjoyable. I read it and started talking about it a lot, and then a friend of mine suggested I check out Ender's Game because the plot was actually lifted by EG (Master Chief is raised in a military facility, trained to be a soldier from the time he is 7 years old...sound familar?). I reluctantly bought the book, and much to my surprise I couldn't put it down. It was amazing, and still is. I tried to read the sequels to it, but I don't think I was ready. Eventually as my experience grew I was able to go through each and every sequel, short story, and novella in the series, along with most of OSC's other books. Eventually I was reading anything I could find that sounded remotely interesting. And through it all I was writing.

I jumped around with majors in school too for a while, eventually deciding on Creative Writing. I completed the program and now I'm considering an MFA in the subject. It's amazing how our lives can change so drastically because of a single moment. For me it was my friend showing me his story.

I'll always remember that day.

[This message has been edited by jcavonpark (edited May 18, 2011).]


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Robert Nowall
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Robert A. Heinlein's Space Cadet got me into science fiction...though I'd read some kid stuff that was clearly SF before (and watched Star Trek), it was this that excited me.

But what started me writing was The Early Asimov. Some of you know it...a collection of Isaac Asimov's early and previously-unprinted stories along with substantial commentary about the writing of it...it got me thinking about the idea of writing, that it could be done, that I could do it...of course, it was some time, and mostly awaiting on the acquisition of a typewriter, before I actually attempted it...


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Natej11
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@jcavonpark blech your first sci-fi was Fall of Reach? I guess on the upside at least it wasn't the original Halo book.

If you don't mind dipping into the Star Wars universe the X-Wing series is really good. Rogue Squadron and later Wraith Squadron. All the Ender's Game books are also really good, although I didn't like Ender in Exile as much. It just seems like Card is letting his love affair with Shakespeare show a bit too much in his recent books.


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jcavonpark
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quote:
@jcavonpark blech your first sci-fi was Fall of Reach? I guess on the upside at least it wasn't the original Halo book.

I know lol, looking back it was such a bad way to get into reading. But still, I can't complain because it got me into reading, and that in turn got me in to OSC's books (and many other authors, of course). So I can't complain.

quote:
If you don't mind dipping into the Star Wars universe the X-Wing series is really good. Rogue Squadron and later Wraith Squadron. All the Ender's Game books are also really good, although I didn't like Ender in Exile as much. It just seems like Card is letting his love affair with Shakespeare show a bit too much in his recent books.

I agree about the shakespeare stuff. The part where they put on the play in EiE was a bit overplayed. I found myself wondering why any of this was important. I had first assumed the bulk of the story would take place after the ride on the ship, but it turned out to be the opposite. Dissapointing, to say the least. Thankfully the book picked up when they finally land. For me, it seemed like that was where the novel should have started, or at least closer to it.


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LDWriter2
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Just wanted to say that today I was inspired by a name. No comment on the person with the name or his job...I just like the name. Goolsbee. Thought it would make a good prof at a magic school but maybe a student or why not both. Do a book that is different for me, so it's a guy's history. So it would tell both stories at the same time. It would be a different format for me which could be why I should do it. And with the ending I'm thinking of it would be a single book. I already have various scenes in mind.

[This message has been edited by LDWriter2 (edited June 07, 2011).]


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