Monday, September 20, 2010

Novel Influence

Novel influence is one reason that some writers don't read books similar to theirs or in their genre when writing a novel. But how much does a novel really influence a writer?

I don't really have any statistics to tell you how much the reading of novels will influence a single reader so instead, I can just talk about how reading books recently has influenced new novel ideas for me.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth, The Border Patrol, and pregnant woman idea

The Forest of Hands and Teeth is one amazing novel. I have never read a zombie novel, I didn't watch any zombie movies even though were supposed to watch several for policy debate (for a capitalism negative). Yet, despite the fact taht I haven't read much in the past 3 years, I read this book in 24 hours. If you haven't read it, you should give at least the first book a try. I haven't read the second book because I'm waiting for the paperback to come out. But I will read it when it does.

The Border Patrol is an idea that I might write soon, which is dystopian. The name is a work in progress title, so it will probably change but it's the idea that has some obvious influence from The Forest of Hands and Teeth. No zombies. Instead there are different types of monsters that hunt humants. There is a village in the mountains, where one main character is from and the second main character's family barely makes it there alive. The border is kind of like a fence, only done with magic. It's similar to the fence in the published novel because it keeps the "monsters" out.

The pregnant woman main character story sparked from a blogfest involving breaking the rules and I got the idea when I was reading The Forest of Hands and Teeth (took me 24 hours to read, with some sleep in the middle). Granted, it's not similar to the published novel because no zombies, or fences, or any similar characters. But the overall tone of the novel affected the tone of the novel I'm developing.

Shiver and The Pack (working title, not all that serious)

Shiver has a pretty cool idea in werewolves. I haven't really been into werewolves before, except for the movie Ginger Snaps Back, which is a horror movie about windegos (has some similarities to werewolves). The idea is that the one character is a wolf when it's cold and human when it's hot outside. But they don't always change, but I won't get into that. Also, they are wolves or humans, not a crossbreed of human-wolf.

My idea involves werewolves that are wolves a year or so then humans a year or so. MC is an older teen boy who stands up against a pack of bullies for a weaker friend and it seems to work. But they "jump" him on his way home from school. Leader forces him to do something and he thinks this is just a move to show him not embarrass the group again. But the truth is he has been chosen to join their pack. There is more that goes on, blah blah blah, not going to say it all. But at first I wasn't interested because of the werewolves, and the love triangle... then the second book idea came up too. The situation in the Rocky Mountains years ago, where the wolves were removed and taken to Canada. Made me wonder what would happen if they were wolves during the move and the new wolf woke up in human form somewhere in Canada with no idea where he was. The idea has ahold of me now. Darn the idea!

While most of my ideas come from random dreams and such, there are times when published novels influence me.

So, what about you?
Has a published novel you read or heard of, ever influence your own writing?


Ariana Richards said...

This is something I didn't used to think about...until someone read one of my novels and then read 'Good Omens' (Terry Pratched & Neil Gaimen) and said "Well, know I know where you got your inspiration"

Same thing with 'American Gods' and another of my short stories. So a way it does. But I think anything we see influences our writing. As long as we take it and switch it around and make it our own, it's all good.

Besides, the odds of someone writing an 'it's already been done' are just as high for someone who hasn't read any similar books. At least from reading those other stories, you'll know what you are and aren't repeating ^_^

Damyanti said...

To me, I read for pleasure, and will continue to do so. It is one of the few genuine and affordable pleasures in my life...and I have never worried much about any one thing influencing me because I read so much and such totally different genres. It was interesting to read about your experiences with books here.

Dawn Embers said...

Ariana - It is interesting how people can see influence in your writing that you didn't notice.

Damyanti - That's a good way to go about it. I love to read and even if it randomly influences my work then I'll keep writing/reading anyways.