2016 seemed to be off to a great start. I have been making great progress on Book 2, I think I’ve finally decided on a title too. I got the casting call for the book trailer out, and have a few people who are interested in it. We’ve begun production again on the audio book for Book 1, and both of my foster kittens have found homes (well, the one has, and I’m 99% sure the other one has too.).
I had been thinking all weekend about what I was going to blog about this week. With all the time I’ve been spending with my head either buried in the goings-on of Chartile, or trying to stay focused at my day job, I was having a really rough time of it. Then yesterday, I got the news: David Bowie had passed away. Sorry if that was a spoiler for anyone. Best to get the shock and pain out of the way anyway. It was in that moment I realized exactly what I was going to blog about.
I was born in the late 80’s. I grew up with Rainbow Brite, The Labyrinth, The NeverEnding Story, Hercules, Xena, and The Princess and the Goblin (yes, I know this is a book now. I didn’t when I was little) just to name a few. Before I was writing, I was watching movies. I pretended to act out movies with my dolls and soon began creating my own “movies” that I would play with my dolls.
I get asked quite often what books influenced my writing. I’m often tagged in those little copy and paste chains about “what 15 authors influenced you the most.” I think people expect me to pull out spectacular names like Terry Pratchett and Stephen King just to name a few. In all honesty, it is quite difficult to come up with fifteen authors who have been influential in shaping me into the writer I am today. Yes, I read a lot as a child. But, simply reading a book and liking a book are not the same as having taken away something from it.
Movies on the other hand. It would be hard for me to narrow down only fifteen or even twenty movies that haven’t influenced me as a writer. And this is precisely what I want to discuss this week.
If you wish to write and write well, it is important that you read, and read a lot. I don’t think anyone can deny that. Read within your genre. Read outside your genre. Read what’s popular. Read the bargain deals books at Barnes and Noble. But this is not the only way to learn about things like character development and story structure. If anything, movies are a great method of learning about the good, the bad and the ugly in story structure and plot holes in short 1-2 hour snap shot as opposed to a chapter book that could take you weeks to finish.
Star Wars is a fantastic movie set to watch to study story structure.
I attended a small town high school, so it seemed only the popular kids got to be involved in the yearly musicals. By the time I hit my early twenties, I was trying to gobble up as many musicals as I could. At first, it was about the music. I love music. I can’t carry a tune or play an instrument to save my life, but absolutely love music, and especially musicals. I began to notice how so much could be said and expressed in such a short period of time. The way someone said something was just as important as the words that were spoken. And since we were limited on time, those words really had to count.
When I found out David Bowie had passed away, it was like a little piece of my heart had died along with him. I didn’t know him from his MTV days, admittedly. We didn’t usually have cable growing up anyway. But I discovered his music slowly over time, and eventually connected some of my favorite songs with not only The Goblin King, but a period in my life what has greatly influenced me as a writer.
I want to tell you that it’s okay if you don’t have that many authors that have influenced you as a writer. It takes a special kind of person and story to touch someone on that level. But I also want you to know that it’s okay to be influenced by more than just books. We are all unique in our own rights, and that includes how we take inspiration from the world.
So, thank you, David Bowie. Thank you for being one of the amazing people who have influenced me and my writing.