Reading Influencing Writing

Everyone has their favorite authors. I'll bet your own writing is influenced by these authors more than you think. Of course each writer has their own unique, individual voice. But if you're aiming for a certain target audience, you tend to take a look at what your writing inspirations are doing right and what to shadow that in some way.

Two of my greatest contemporary fiction inspirations are Sarah Dessen and Susane Colasanti. I've been a Sarah Dessen fan for years, devouring all of her books and drawing so much from them. She finds a way to make you relate to every main character, and you fall in love with all of her boys. Susane Colasanti's writing is just so fun and modern. Her style is so unique, her plot lines fun, and her characters real.

Note the top shelf of my book shelf. Half of it is dominated by Dessen/Colasanti. And yes, I have two copies of JUST LISTEN. The one laying on top is signed! :D


My very first rough draft of Dancing Through Life (back then it was called Just Dance) was inspired a lot from THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER and JUST LISTEN. I'd tap into similar events and certain emotions and try to twist them and make them my own. The book is so different now from the original draft, but I really believe Sarah Dessen is one of my primary writing teachers. I've read my favorite books by her at least four times each, studying the characters and writing technique. Her books are truly contemporary fiction at its best.

Two years ago, I read WHEN IT HAPPENS. And I was all, who is this awesome author who says "all that in a bag of munchos." (I LOL'd hard when I read that.) And I loved the idea of multiple girl/boy POV, and actually getting into the boys head. This was the first book I'd ever read like that, and it inspired me enough to take my first finished draft and totally rewrite it into multiple POV, which ended up doing so much for the story! Thank you Susane!

Authors like these two are the reason I write. And ALWAYS after I tear through one of their books, I'm inspired to get on my computer and write a ton. They embody the kind of writer I want to be someday. Because while I like experimenting and having fun with dystopia and scifi, I know my heart is with the contemporary fiction. There are fads and trends such as vampires and dystopia (the HUGE one now), but a good love story with real people and real problems NEVER goes out of style.

Which brings me to what inspired me to write this blog. Another way I go looking for inspiration to write is by reading up on old inkpop comments I've received. I found this one that I got on Perfection is my Enemy, over the summer:

"I don't know if this will be a compliment or not to you but I mean it as a compliment: I can see your inspirations and influences in your writing. Like I'll just stop suddenly and think, am I reading a Sarah Dessen book? Or, that sounds like something Susane Colasanti would put in a book. It's not that you copy anything from them or even mention anything remotely similar to their books. It's something intangible in your writing style and character development."

Needless to say, I just about died when I read that. It's the biggest confidence boost EVER when a complete stranger tells you that when they read your writing, they think of your two favorite authors.

Who are your favorite authors? Is there anyone/anything in particular that influences your writing?

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4 comments:

Paige said...

the only book I've ever read by Sara Dessen is Just Listen, and I loved it! I'm going to be reading What Happened to Goodbye soon.
Two of my favorite authors are Sara Shepard ( Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game) and Lisi Harrison (The Clique). I think my writing reflects both of them some.

That is so crazy and cool that you got a comment like that, I'd freak out! :)

I still need to find time to read the DTL stuff you sent me, I've been pretty busy lately but school will be over in two weeks so I'll be reading it soon :)

Marisa said...

@Paige: Sarah Dessen is fantastic! Definitely add THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER to your list, as it's one of my favorites, if not my favorite. Other favorites by her are ALONG FOR THE RIDE, THIS LULLABY, and LOCK AND KEY. I'm almost done with WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE, and I LOVE that too!

I can't wait to here what you think of my DTL stuff!

The Divine Writer said...

Marisa! Have you started reading Kieran Scott's book yet? Where does that fit in? Can't wait to hear your thoughts! Oh, and DONT forget the 2nd book in that series is coming out in June!

Marisa said...

@Jen: I haven't read that yet. I'm planning on picking that up on my next Borders run :)