Words on a page written by somebody for the entertainment of others. The process of writing novels and creating works of fiction is ageless. So what makes a book so compelling? Well, I suppose that depends on you, the reader, doesn’t it? I personally find that I connect to a story and the characters much easier in a book than through any other medium. Not only that, but it is a truly wonderful way of telling a slow-burning story.
As I’ve mentioned many times in previous posts, Stephen King is a major source of inspiration to me. But why? Possibly because he was the first author I read after deciding to take my writing really seriously. I would like to think it’s more so that I connect with his writing in a very deep way. He is by no means a literary genius and he does not write philosophical prose for the intellectually superior, but he is still an intelligent and superbly talented writer. To the literary elite: Steer clear! These waters are not for you to tread.
Stephen King, my writing idol.
Of King’s works there is one particular novel (written with the brilliant Peter Straub) that has spoken to me more than any other novel of the past twelve months. I don’t know why this particular book, Black House, has affected me so deeply. It is not King’s best work by any means. The Shining and Misery stand out for me, having read them in record time (I personally take a while to get through a book) but they didn’t inspire me on the level Black House has. It is a book that speaks of both the murderous and cannibalistic side of human nature and also of fantasy and the supernatural. This is something that I am attempting to replicate in Haunt, but in a much different way. King and Straub focused on the fantastical and far-fetched ideas of supernatural that link intrinsically with The Dark Tower series. My ideas of the supernatural are linked much more with real life experiences. Spirit circles, mediums, psychics and clairvoyants. If, however, I can create something even 25% as compelling as Black House I will have done even better than I imagined.
Black House, an inspiration on many different levels.
Another writer who has massively inspired me over the past year (having finally read two of his novels at the behest of my best friend) is Patrick Rothfuss. The first two entries in The Kingkiller Chronicle blew my mind. I never expected that a novel so wholeheartedly fantasy could be as involving and accessible as Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear have been to me. Although I couldn’t say that the novels have inspired Haunt so much, I have definitely been inspired to try and replicate even a morsel of Rothfuss’s literary talents. He may write about magic in a fantasy world, but he also creates magic with his fingertips when he spins these fantastical and brilliant tales.
The Name of the Wind absolutely blew my mind.
Another recent breakout star that has stunned with three impressive novels (one of which, Gone Girl, I was particularly impressed by) is Gillian Flynn. She has inspired me hugely with her fast-paced mysteries and involving thrillers. Although I struggled a little bit with Sharp Objects and Dark Places, I was so mesmerised and impressed with Gone Girl that some influences from that novel have leaked into Haunt in ways I didn’t notice until I was reworking what I had already written. Flynn is a talented writer, and one that I aspire to in my endeavours.
Gillian Flynn and Gone Girl, a real master of mystery and suspense.
Okay, so that’s all I’ve really got to say today. But I felt like it was imperative that I spoke a little bit about literature that I admire and adore because, well, because I want to be one of those admired and inspiring writers myself one day. Even if that day is a very far way off in the future.