@hannahnpbowman challenged me to write about ideas from my favourite books that have influenced my writing.* That was on Friday. I've spent bits of the weekend thinking about the subject, and pretty much drawing a blank. I've probably lifted something at some point, but honestly, I try not to do anything bigger than allude to something. There are certainly tropes that I have in common with other writers, but that's because they're tropes and half the writers** out there use the same ones.
Books that have inspired me in more general ways, however? Those I can write about. Observe.
Most of the books that have inspired me have inspired my theory of magic—what it is, how it acts, what it does. A lot of books went into the theory, but a big one was The Golden Compass. There was something about Dust that seemed magical to me when I first read it (and still seems magical today). My idea that magic is a sort of particle that's attracted to belief stems directly from that story.
Another book with a great sense of magic (though there may not actually be magic in it) is The Secret Garden. I cannot tell you how many times I read that growing up, but enough that the cover's pretty damaged—and I never damage covers if I can help it. There's such a sense of natural beauty and presence and life coming back to people and places …. That's how magic feels, to me.
Other books I read a lot as a kid: The Hobbit, and most of the "true" paranormal, cryptid, and UFO stories in the town library. I credit Hobbit with getting me into fantasy (and I think it might've been the first novel I read on my own), and I credit the "true" stories with fueling my fascination with the macabre and creepy. They didn't start the fascination—I'm not sure what did, possibly the Egyptian Mummy phase—but they definitely spurred it along.
There are a lot of more scattered influences (urban fantasy novels in general, for example) but I want to close on this note: I really, really want to write as awesomely as Neil Gaiman and Lois McMaster Bujold, and would dearly love to be half as funny as Terry Pratchett. Honestly. I covet Gaiman's imagination and penchant for eerieness, Bujold's … everything but mostly her characterization, and Pratchett's satire and dialogue. Then again, if I ever to reach their level of craft and someone tells me this, I might explode from happiness and that would be bad.
Who's influenced you?
* Yes, another Twitter topic.
** If not more.