Heroes, part one.

When I think of being an author, of writing, I can’t help think about all the work of others I have read over the years, about the things that inspire me, about the works that have touched and moved me.  I know it’s a cliché to talk about standing on the shoulders of giants, but in many ways the cliché rings true.

If I do ever become successful as an author, then it will be, to a greater or lesser extent, due to the works of various authors who have inspired me to put pen to paper – or rather, finger to keyboard.  I want to take the time to talk about a few of these literary heroes, and will probably do so again so don’t be fooled into thinking what I say in this post is by any means an exhaustive list.

Stephen R. Lawhead - An author of immensely evocative imaginative fiction and mythic history, including the Pendragon Cycle, – Taliesin, Merlin, Arthur and Pendragon, a re-imagining of the Arthurian legend to incorporate Lawhead’s fascination in Celtic studies.  In particular, the narrative style of Merlin told in the first-person from the titular character’s perspective was an immense inspiration of how the moods and motivations of a character can colour the prose.  One of Lawhead’s other early works is the Empyrion saga, which demonstrates brilliantly how an immensely well-developed world can be gradually opened up to a reader.

Read widely, not just the stuff you think you’ll like or with which you will agree. Keep an open mind. Pay attention the writer’s style, the way he or she puts the point across or tells the story. Analyse what various writers are doing and learn from it.

- Stephen R. Lawhead
 J.R.R. Tolkien – I don’t think there is really anything I can say about Tolkien’s works that others have not already said  much more eloquently than I could ever be able to.  Few can write anything without owing a great debt to Tolkien, and none can write fantasy without owing a debt to the worlds Tolkien helped open up to us.  All I can say really is that Tolkien was a master – the master – of fictional world creation.
Robert Jordan - James Oliver Rigney, Jr. wrote as Robert Jordan until his death in 2007.  His master-work, The Wheel of Time was unfinished at the time of his death and is now being completed by Brandon Sanderson from notes he left behind.  The Wheel of Time is possibly most famous for its length, making most other fantasy epics look like short stories in comparison, however Jordan was also had particular mastery of writing from a subjective, limited third-person perspective, a style that gives great colour to his works.  Jordan also rivalled Tolkien in his ability to describe in detail a world, including its political systems, extensive history and religion.

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