Saturday, May 25, 2013

Inspiration Fri----er... Saturday.

So some stuff came up yesterday and I was not home from practically the time I woke up to the time I went to sleep. Obviously this has affected my IF post, but since I drew the picture and am trying to be a good blogger, I have decided this week it will be Inspiration Saturday. 

Inspiration Friday Saturday. Every Friday This Saturday I find a topic and give three things from that topic that inspire me. This is not a favorites list necessarily, though they are some of my favorite things. This weeks topic is Books.

Now for me this is the hardest one so far to write and I had to constantly remind myself this is not a favorites list, because three books is not nearly enough to even touch my most favorite of stories. So I decided to focus on books that took me to a different place with my writing.

First we have maybe the most influential book I have ever read. Before this book, I was reading Tom Sawyer and White Fang and Treasure Island, before that I was having Charlotte's Web read to me at night before I went to sleep. This series, The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe in particular, was the first time I had read something so fantastical. Has anyone seen the movie the Neverending Story? When Bastian is up in the attic(I believe it was an attic, been a while for me) and he starts to read and the story comes to life. This is how I felt reading these books. I would stay with my Godmother who lived on the grounds of a private school and during the summer the library there would be completely empty. It was as still as a graveyard and I would take my copy of LtWatW and I'd find a little nook and start reading. This was the first time I understood that a story could not just be fun, not just make you feel something, but it could be magic. After reading, no closet was left un-searched, no lamppost was ever looked at the same way and my love for lions was sealed. It is funny a book published in the 50s could speak to me so much, but that is what great books do they bridge time and become timeless. I have not felt so attached to a children series until I finally caved and read the Harry Potter books. I can honestly say this was the beginning for me as a writer and I will always thank C. S. Lewis for that.

Ah Drizzt. It is so funny to think this character was supposed to be a sidekick. It goes to show you that no matter what we plan as writers stories have a way of growing out of us in ways we can't always foresee. I was six when the first book of the Icewind Dale Trilogy was published it wouldn't be for another ten years that I would discover this amazing series. By this time I was reading a lot of fantasy. It was funny because until I got deep into reading about this Dark Elf I didn't understand what the Fantasy genre could be. Yes is has fantastical elements that evoke fun and amazement, that send our imaginations whirling, but they can also tell us about ourselves. The Drizzt books aren't a story about one of the baddest fantasy figures to ever hold a sword...or two—well it is, but it isn't just that. This is a story that talks about racism, about fitting into a world that may reject you, but doing it because it is worth it to try. About friendship and what it means to love another enough to give your life for them. We can talk all day about people's opinion of this sort of fantasy, but at the end of the day, for me, I felt like a better person after reading these books. A better writer to boot. Drizzt taught me that while it is sometimes important to fight, it is why we fight that means the most in this world. Mr R. A. Salvatore is still writing away at these and on my desk next to me I have the 27th book that has been written about this character, I have trouble thinking of a more prolific author. With no end in sight I am comforted by the fact I will have my friend the dark elf for many years to come.

This was a hard one for me, four book series rushed forward to fill this spot or maybe I should say authors: Brent Weeks, Jim Butcher, Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss. I started reading these people's books all about the same time. So why Rothfuss? Well this is going to sound egotistical after I write it, but I hope this will be taken as I mean it and not as it sounds. When I am done reading a book I often ask myself a question. Could I write this? Often I have to say 'with a lot of work and honing of my craft', but I find confidence at some point and say yes I think I could. (Now this may be delusions of grandeur but that works for me.) A book that made me stop and no, no I don't think I could, was The Name of The Wind. This book is so smart, so classy(yes classy). The way the story is told is clean and crisp and while Patrick has said there isn't really a plot, it so doesn't matter. The characters are real and make you feel for them or hate or love/hate them. As a reader I was a complete puppet for both books in the Kingkiller Chronicles. As a writer I often find myself speculating as I read and many times I know things before they happen. With this book it wasn't even a matter of I couldn't do that, I just didn't even want to try. I was in this book for each word and all that mattered while I was reading was what I was reading. I am a slow reader and suffice it to say I lost a portion of my life after buying each book. Well all I can say to that is—time well spent. This series has become something for me to look up to while writing my fantasy. I have enjoyed books and have favorites that mean as much to me as this series does. Yet this one has become like a ghost haunting my keyboard. I often hear its chains rattling as I start to write a fantasy scene and an eerie voice floats to my ears, "Remember the Kingkiller, be better...."

Sorry for such a long post, but as I'm sure many of you can relate books mean a great deal to me. I could write this post over with three different books everyday for months and not finish off my list.

Anyway, what are some books that inspire you? As always have fun and keep writing.


  1. The Drizzt books were great. The setting translated so well into D&D also. Yeah, total gamer geek back in the day.
    The Narnia I didn't read until I was a teen, but I still enjoyed them. I don't think the full Christian message sunk in until I was an adult though.
    The pivotal book for me was Brooks' Sword of Shannara. That sparked me to start writing my own stories. (One of those stories I rediscovered a few years ago and rewrote from scratch. It became my first published book.)

    1. Yeah I played a bit of D&D. although I always liked a more loose game.

      Yeah I had reread the Narnia series ever couple of years, I guess it is my LotRs.

      I am ashamed to say I have not read the Shannara books, I keep meaning to, same as I mean to finish the Wheel of Time, I know I'm a slacker.

  2. Sadly I can't say that I read any of those books (I know!) but I did see LtWatW's movie... and I liked that a lot... does that count at all? :D
    I didn't grow up in this country... so, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. I do feel left out now though :(

    At least I can comment on the awesome drawing & say I like it lol

    1. Yes that counts, as a fan of the books I enjoyed the movies as well.

      Also that is the perfect excuse, although personally I recommend grabbing a copy of the Chronicles of Narnia. I mean if nothing else you can read them to those precious babies of yours.


  3. It's my first visit to you blog, I read Katherine Anthony's recommendation and I'm glad she introduced me to you site. You did a great job commenting on these books. I love children's books that have positive messages for kids, and stories that inspire us to be our best.

    1. Me too. I love any book that makes you think about life after you read it. And thanks for dropping by, S. K. Anthony is awesome.

  4. Good post. And since I'm comfy in the office chair, I don't mind that. But a long post deserves a long comment. (Or is this payback for the long post??)
    This isn't the first time I've noticed that our preferences align - our music and video game tastes are similar, too.
    I like the imagery of the deserted library. Makes me want to go back to simpler times and find a nook and read a book.
    The Chronicles of Narnia is a series I read so, so long ago... And I need to return. During that time, my mom read us kids the Hobbit. I loved it. Then I read the Lord of the Rings. I loved it. Then I read (ok skimmed and studied the appendix of) the Silmarilion. That's what got me creating. I enjoyed Narnia but I believe LOTR had a stronger effect on me.
    It's also been far too long since I read a Salvatore book. But, despite the years it's been, I can remember to this moment how they grabbed me. They are character-based, high-action master pieces. I don't even remember which Drizzt books I read but I've refered several people to Bob Salvatore.
    Patrick Rothfus makes me a little angry. I'm a huge fan. I follow his blog on GoodReads (and he actually has interesting stuff to say, unlike some published authors... whose staff probably writes their blogs)
    But in the time it's taken him to NOT complete a single trilogy, Brandon Sanderson has written at least a trilogy (Mistborn), several novellas, the first mammoth book of the Stormlight archives, AND he finished the last 3 books of the Wheel of Time series!
    WTF, PATRICK!!! You've only got one job to do!
    Enough of that. I'm a fan.
    I'd like to recommend a series for you, since you like Rothfus and Salvatore. Joe Abercrombie's The First Law trilogy. They're character driven, like Drizzt and Qvothe stories. They read with all the intimacy of first person point of view but they're written in third. I'm returning to my first book for a 7th draft because of techniques I picked up reading this series.
    Content warning: They're almost as gritty as A Song of Ice and Fire. The first book, least of all, but the second and third stumble into some pretty dark places. Overall, though, this is the first series I've picked up in a while that I simply couldn't put down.

    By the way, (don't hate me for this!!) I met Brandon Sanderson and R A Salvatore at Dragon*Con last year. And they're as cool in real life as you could possibly hope they'd be!

    1. Lol, well payback or deserved response, I'll take it. Yeah, I am getting into the whole ebook world and it is not as bad as I thought, but nothing beats an old library or book store. In fact when I write and get blocked sometimes I go to this old book store around here and walk around.
      Never read the Silmarillion, I also didn't read the LotR until I was older, but I enjoyed it.
      Yeah my wife actually bought a friend of mine a copy of the first Drizzt book and I was reading only Dragonlance, after arguing that it couldn't possible be better I finally read it and have been hooked ever since.
      Yeah I mean I was one who waited several years to read Dance with Dragons. I guess for me, I love those books so much that I am willing to wait to make sure he gets it right. Still no one rites like Brandon Sanderson, maybe Mr. Salvatore, but no one else. And his books are huge. I loved tWoK.
      I actually read Joe's book Best Served Cold, I wanted to pick up his others but have gotten to them yet. I really enjoyed that book though his writing is awesome. Have you read the Warded man by Peter V. Brett? it is along the same lines as these others we have mentioned.
      I am trying not to hate you, lol. I hope I can meet them one day. I actually got the statue from the Reckoning Game hoping to get Bob's sig, but I got one of the other's.
      Well good luck on your book, still want to read when your ready for readers.(I guess one long bit of writing deserves another)

    2. I'm going to look into Peter V. Brett. I'm always on the lookout for good books.
      I loved the Dragonlance books as well.
      I'd be honored for you to read my book. It's so far from ready right now... I can't even see the light at the end of the tunnel!

    3. "Every journey begins with just one step.." Sorry couldn't help it.

  5. I really need to read The Name of the Wind this summer! I know I'll love it and it seems fantastic! Great post! :)

    1. It is worth it to read, both books are great in my opinion.

  6. I thought that was Aslan. I'd know him anywhere.


  7. Chronicles of Narnia is a fantastic book!