This was a surprisingly difficult post to write! I think it’s because writing about writing can seem rather daunting- I want to write as well as the person I’m talking about! I did not manage to achieve that, but I think I did manage to find some authors who I really admire for certain aspects of their writing and who have inspired me. I love to write fiction myself, and reading great authors has the biggest affect on how I write my own stories.
There are two reasons I’d love to write like Maggie Stiefvater: atmosphere and character. She has such a way of bringing a setting to life with the colors she uses, the sounds ,the strange sense of fullness she can bring to a still, quiet place. Her settings are like characters in themselves- Henrietta, the Barnes, Thisby, Monmouth Manufacturing, just to name a few. Each are so different but are so vivid and each has such a particular presence. She’s definitely inspired me to give more care to my settings and atmosphere in my own writing. Before I read her writing, I never asked myself “what do I want this story to feel like? Now I do before I start anything.
As for actual characters, I really admire how her characters are so flawed and aggravating in a way that made me only love them more. And they’re quirky in a way that works for me. Maggie Stiefvater’s characters showed me the pleasure that comes with characters that have secrets and personalities beneath the surface, which is half the reason her characters always intrigue me so much. She’s amazing at writing secondary characters, perhaps because they’re a kind of living version of the settings she creates- they’re creatures of them and I love it.
I so envy the fluidity in Celeste Ng’s writing. Nothing ever feels awkward about her words, and I know she probably writes a bunch of drafts like any author, but when I imagine her in the act of writing, I picture the words easily and flawlessly flowing out of her brain and onto paper, because that’s how they sound when I’m reading them. Not to mention her mastery at flipping between different tenses and point of views, which is something I find SO DIFFICULT.
I also would love to be able to achieve the balance that Ng does in her storytelling. Both of her books reveal the endings of their stories on the first page, then go back and weave in and out of present time and the past (and even future, a little, because like I said she’s so masterful at moving around in her writing) to show how we get there. That is such a difficult mode of storytelling, and I admire Ng’s ability to pull it off so flawlessly in ways that please me and HURT ME.
John Boyne has the ability of turning the mundane into some of the most entertaining parts of his stories. Two characters will have a conversation that lasts pages and never for a second do I find myself bored. I always find Boyne’s dialogue wildly entertaining, which is something I struggle with in my own writing. If a conversation I’m writing gets too long, I always begin doubting myself- it’s too boring, the reader has been here too long. In The Heart’s Invisible Furies, Boyne is brazen with his humor in a way that I wish I knew how to be. Again, I always tend to
doubt my own humor in my writing. The last story I wrote had pages of “deleted scenes” that I cut because I thought the humor was too much. But Boyne’s writing has showed me that sometimes too much can be great.
John Boyne is also amazing at creating TERRIBLY flawed characters who do awful,unforgivable things, and I love them so much. I think I’ve yet to find that ability- my characters always end up being a little too good to make up for bad things they do, which can kill a bit of the
pain tension sometimes.
This is a rather…opposite of the point I made with John Boyne, but something I admire about Marissa Meyer’s writing of the Lunar Chronicles, and Cinder in particular, is how concisely written I felt they were. Perhaps its because I read the series after I’d finished writing a long, rambling story that was far too long than it needed to be, but I really admired how everything she gave us was important, how I never felt like I lingered anywhere too long in her stories. It’s probably because I’m not great at planning out my own stories that they always end up terribly long, and I end up writing so many scenes that feel redundant (like any NORMAL WRITER, probably), but it really makes me appreciate concise writing when I read it. I love long-winded, descriptive writing (obviously), but sometimes it’s refreshing to read something more succinct and fast-paced.
Among many, many things, I SO admire J.K. Rowling for the amount of detail she fits into her books, and the way she uses it ALL (I’m looking at Harry Potter, specifically). When I write, I’m very good at confusing myself with detail, with keeping everything connected and relevant, which can make me fearful of writing long stories. I could literally have a giant note that says “DON’T FORGET THIS PLOT POINT” hanging in front of my face and yet somehow forget to include it when I’m actually writing. Harry Potter amazes me with its detail- how things from the first book are brought back to life in the last book, how the tiniest things BREAK MY HEART in the end.
So those are just SOME of the authors I’d like to write like. What authors would you like to write like, or admire the writing of??