Name a great poet, author or playwright who influenced you to write.
I'm assuming that most of us here are writers because we at one point in our growing up thought literature was an amazing thing. Who's your favorite poet or author or what is your favorite work?
In reference to the pic you posted, Shakespeare was the catalyst to my writing poetry (or what I thought to be poetry) as far back as the ninth grade. In hindsight, what I was really writing was lyrical prose and in some cases haikus. Before Will Shakespeare, my heroes, mentors, and luminaries were Ray Bradbury, Roald Dahl, and Shel Silverstein. They showed me The Way and left me bread crumbs to follow--some too small for even a mouse to devour--but bread crumbs nevertheless. Their ability to tell a story, describe the fantastic, rhyme with both reason and humor chiseled away the pieces of me that were lost and sculpted me into the writer that I am today...Ernest Hemingway polished me up thereafter.
Wow. A writer you are; the real deal. Its funny because you don't really meet every day people who have a passion for poetry and the greats. I love "hearing" you speak of these men like they are a song for your heart. You are blessed with this!
I actually started writing when I read the first novel of a new writer, and thought, "I can write better than that!" I figured if she could get published with modest skills, so could I. Reading her novel, and being able to see the weaknesses and flaws took away a lot of the mystery of writing for me, and made me see that it was something I could also do.
You were inversely inspired! I get that. That's great. When you can write, you just can write. There is definitely a moment when you realize that it is not something everyone else can do. Magical in a way. Interesting, original and inspiring!
I can't answer this with the name of published author. Well, maybe she is, but if so I've never read any of her books or even heard about them. Since she wouldn't be on any list of famous writers, perhaps I shouldn't mention her, but I must. The person who most inspired me to write was my college professor L.A.Smith. I had for English Comp II and Technical Writing. I never enjoyed writing anything up until I sat in her classes. She was the one who taught me to write about the things I know and about which I have a passion. If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't write anything unless it was required for work. Because of her, I write HP articles and have published several books.
Gosh. What a lady of impact. What a difference she made! I wish I could ever do so much for someone. That woman must have been one great teacher. How wonderful. Thank you for sharing.
I love that you paid tribute to Prof. Smith's influence on your writing, Sheila. Teachers can be more inspiring than anyone by encouraging students to write.
The first author that really made me see I could use my imagination to create something was a fantasy author called Anne McCaffrey. She wrote a series of novels called the Dragonriders of Pern. The fantasy world she created perfectly sparked my imagination as a young girl.
A number of authors in my dim distant past may have shaped the way I write. Let's start off with the anonymous scribe who set 'Beowulf' to vellum (although he took it through the 'car wash' - i.e., cleaned out the heathen element in the original telling), as also Snorri Sturlusson (not for his writing style as such, but for his grasp of history); C S Forrester for his 'Hornblower' series; Bernard Cornwell's 'Sharpe' books and the 'Last Kingdom' series of stories of Uhtred of Baebbanburh; various books by Ernest Hemingway, particularly 'A Farewell to Arms'; Erich Maria Remarque's 'The Black Obelisk' was a biting criticism of the Brownshirts in the 1930's; last but not least, Poul Anderson's rendition of 'Hrolf Kraki's Saga' (much better and more detailed narrative than the Penguin version).
You have such an amazing command of what influenced you! It doesn't seem to be a dim past at all!!!! But clearly, these are all great works and I love how you can call them up just off the cuff. Powerful. Going to read my "Farewell to Arms" now!
I thought the Hornblower series was great. The days of the tall sails.
My high school English Lit teacher inspired me with the writing and poetry of Edgar Allen Poe. I have a whole collection of his works, and so does my husband. Will Shakespeare's sonnets and plays were also works that I love, as were the writings of more modern poets such as Emily Dickenson. Another playwright I have grown to admire is George Bernard Shaw. His biographical play about Joan of Arc is one I can read over and over.
Yes, I love these authors as well. Isn't it amazing how talented singular individuals can be? I love Poe. And Shakespeare, well, I loved learning all that. I will have to check out George Bernard Shaw. Thank you!
I had a niche for writing short stories and poetry regarding more darker and horrific settings. More often than not, I was being told I was disturbed and needed mental evaluation. Maybe. Maybe not. But I did always find myself reading a LOT of Poe as a teenager and knew I wanted to be just like him.
I have always loved poetry from a young age and the poet that influenced me for the greatest part of my life and still inspires me is the Australian bush poet A.B.Banjo Patterson. I have written a tribute poem to him and his work. As far as fiction authors I would have to say the first I read and was inspired by was Edgar Rice Burroughs of Tarzan and John Carter of Mars fame.
I'm going to have to check out those writers!!! I love how so many people have been influenced so deeply by such different writers. Thank you for sharing!
Strangely enough Patterson was one of the first Australians to write science fiction. One short story about a mechanical salesman but still...Burroughs is a great choice.
There were quite a few authors who influenced me growing up. But none as much as J. K. Rowling. In K-12 school, it's easy to fall into the mentality that reading is 'school work only'. I had always liked reading, to some extent, but it was the Harry Potter series that showed me a book could surpass other forms of entertainment. That one could read from sun up to sun down and barely notice. That had a profound impact on me.
Ernest Hemingway. I read The Old Man and the Sea when I was only, like, nine or ten years old. I had read great writing before that, and since of course, but that book in particular, as well as For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Sun Also Rises, showed me that you could write a powerful sentence that was still lean and spare. My own style has never been that clean, but when I need to remember that "less is more," I always go back to the Old Man, both literally and metaphorically.
I can't just name one writer. Various writers at various times have had their impact on me. As playwrights go I have been influenced by Shakespeare (A Midsummer Night's Dream, Macbeth), Bertolt Brecht (The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Mother Courage), and Arthur Miller (All My Sons, The Crucible). An Englishman, a German and an American. On the Australian front there was Ray Lawler (Summer of the Seventeenth Doll) and Robert. J. Merritt (The Cake Man). All five showed and still show what is possible to do on stage.
As for poet I suppose Alfred Tennyson (UK) with his poem Flower in the Crannied Wall. In this 19th Century poem you manage to have the world of the microscope and also the telescope described in the wonder of a flowering plant along with the question of how we and God figure into all of this. Not bad going at all.
In terms of the novel I grew up with Charles Dickens (UK), Robert. E. Howard (USA) and Isaac Asimov (USA). Later on I became as fan of Terry Pratchett (UK) and his disc world books. Dickens is best remembered for his Christmas short stories such as A Christmas Carol. He also wrote The Old Curiosity Shop and Oliver Twist. Robert E. Howard is best remembered for his creation of Conan and also Red Sonja. In terms of Australian literature it is hard to go past Albert Facey's A Fortunate Life and The Mango Tree by Ronald McKie. Then there's 1984 by George Orwell (UK) that has had a profound and lasting affect on me.
Oh! Your answer makes me want to go out and read, read, read. I don't want to miss any of these critical works. I wonder at the talents of the past - they make me feel so small this morning!!!!! But I love them all....
A Fortunate Life deals with an Australian who went to the First World War so it is a very appropriate read for 2014. Every year it seems someone comes up with a new film version of A Christmas Carol.
If I were a real writer Ernest Hemingway would inspire me most, because he taught me anyone can write a publishable novel. The best fictional authors of high literature I have read consistently are Turgenev and Dostoyevsky, but they aren't my favorite personally. I just respect their brilliant writing, though I am not particularly interested in their subjects. Joseph Conrad consistently wrote books on subjects that most appealed to me and he also had a brilliant style. Heart of Darkness was such a short novel, but such a good one once I read it as an adult and actually understood it. I also liked Lord Jim and Nostromo. Conrad is probably my favorite foreign author. My favorite American author (and favorite American) is easily Gore Vidal. He basically had two subjects on which he wrote. One was history from the standpoint of those in power. His other novels (which I think he preferred to write) were typically whimsical and poked fun at subjects like human sexuality, media and religion. I am more partial to his historical novels.
You are so informed and well read. You have me wanting to read all these works. I'm sure you do them justice as they sound tremendously influential. I loved The Death of Ivan Illich. I loved his title and how it represented the story.
Heart of Darkness is a great little book as you say. Apocalypse Now was roughly based on ideas from it.
Mark Twain and Flannery O'Conner Mark Twain for his humor, and O'Conner for her keen insight into human nature.
Chaucer! When i studied Chaucer's Canterbury tales in school it inspired me to write a story that rhymes. I quickly gave up but enjoyed trying so it helped me on my path to writing and enjoying the process.
I grew up in an age when radio was king (TV not yet in homes) and comic books and access to a public libary were the main ways of influence for children. So I guess one could say comics with pictures, then comics without pictures. I recall a book containing four stories of Canadian animals: a Caribour, a Lynx, a beaver and bear, Those got the imagination going so much that I attempted writing my first book around twelve years of age. it was, of course, too much of a challenge at the time. It took another twenty years before I successfully completed my first novel.
Then there were the stories read out or told orally from memory by our school teachers as a treat: Tom Sawyer, Hucklbury Finn by Mark Twain, for example. It is from these I developed my own passion for oral storytelling to audiences.
There followed such authors as Jack London, Robert Louis Stephenson. Later, as a twenty-year old, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway. I was also into everything Ernest Gann wrote because I got a job as an aeradio operator after my time in the navy. Gann wrote on both the sea and the air.
Poetry? The Ryme of the Ancient Mariner. Alfred Noyes, The Highwaymen. The Man from Snowy River, Banjo Patterson. These poems are stories which creates visual images along with emotion.
I found Shakespeare too challenging to read for pleasure though, of course, I had to study certain plays and write critiques on them to pass various English examinations. But I cannot recall any particular author that really...well...maybe Steinbeck. His Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday kept me very amused all through.
I love your unique answer. I didn't really think about oral storytelling and the impact of pictures. Of course, both those things could be equally influential. I love the span of time of great authors. I like to think all writers are connected.
I agree with Tom when it comes to Shakespeare. I never did read Shakespeare 'cold'. I got involved in theatre and that way the scenes and the characters came to life. Jack London (The Call of the Wild) and Paterson...great choices...
I would have to say that we are clicking on many of the same authors. And like you, I never got to really like Shakespeare. I was more into the moderns you mentioned. Mark Twain was high on my list. I am also fond of Walker Percy.
Maya angelou is my favorite poet. She write with passion and a true love for her poetry.
Roald Dahl DEFINITELY influenced me to write
His stories were a part of my childhood.
Well i read a lot of jefferey archer and john grism, and then my life took some very unexpected turns which made me consider writing as an option, though I'm only a teen, but i have had my share of experience enough to keep anyone thrilled for days
It was Edgar Allen Poe. The first poem I had ever read that completely transformed my way of thinking about writing was his Poem "Spirits of the dead" Awakened me inside and out. I then began to dabble in poetry myself. Love to write it. A strong release for me.
Patrick McManus. Don't know if you'd call him a great writer, but I love his humorous take on outdoor adventures. Titles like "They Shoot Canoes, Don't They" and "Never Sniff a Gift Fish."
Well, I was influenced by many Bards from an early age. Purely because I liked reading, I suppose. My advice to writers are usually to write, write, write .... read, read, read ... because this is what all the great writers say and what I did without thinking.
So yes, Keats, Wordsworth, Shakespeare, Milton, Kipling, Shelly, Blake ... Emily Dickenson, Wilcox, Poe and Bradbury ... Wadsworth ..
Finally, I give all credit to my Guru Sri Chinmoy. I have never met someone a tiny bit as prolific in so many fields of endeavour and the closest to him would also be spiritual poets like Rumi, Tagore, Mira, Rabia, etc. Check some out. Happy New Year!!
I agree about the reading, reading, reading. I always notice that when I read more, I write so much more fluidly as well, perhaps picking up little pearls from the authors' styles I have been submerged in. Happy New Year's!
Yes, it happens, Amie, and stays with you without knowing until you need them. So many people, including atheists, quote from spiritual mystics of long, long ago without thinking. Just because they heard and read it somewhere. Much Peace!
My first favorite author was Jaqueline Wilson because I grew up reading her books and novels. I thought, if she can do it, why not me?
So I just had a bash at poetry and creative eriting and books, and it just turned out to be the right thing!
Thanks to Jaqueline! <3
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