As many of you know I’m currently working on my first novel which is shamelessly titled Ghoul WIP (for now). As a writer, reading is part habit, part research. I’ve read an advice which encourage writers to read books that they would like to emulate in their own writings. I don’t generally follow this advice but there are some books which, once I’ve read them and studied them, have helped shape my writing.
The Book Blogger Hop of the week asks, “Which book you wish you’d written?” My answer is that even if a book is a favourite, I don’t wish that I had written it. Instead, I feel inspired and in awe of the book. These feelings push me to study the style of the author and try it in my own writing. Today I’m going to list how specific books have influenced my writing.
The Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Jennifer from Crazy-For-Books in March 2010 and ended on December 31, 2012. With Jennifer’s permission, Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer relaunched the meme on February 15, 2013.
The Bone Witch trilogy was the first Fantasy series by a Filipino author that I had picked up. In spite of its ambiguous, Asian-inspired world, I always saw the characters as Filipino in my mind. I was especially delighted when a character art of Tea, the supposed villainess of the series, was released and she was brown-skinned! Additionally, I love how Chupeco created characters who I could relate to. This is saying a lot for a book that is of the high fantasy genre. I loved her story-telling how she effectively told the story and made us care of Tea in spite of one of the POVs being of a future and seemingly evil Tea.
Although The Poppy War is a recent read I admire the morally grey personalities of the characters. I love how R.F. Kuang wrote characters who were driven by their motivations rather than their sense of wrong and right. What I loved most about The Poppy War was how it mixed fantasy and history, keeping some of the latter’s truths to give readers a sense of China’s history. History and mythology of the Philippines is something I’m also trying to insert into my novel but until The Poppy War, I was unsure how to write about it without make it seem like a non-fiction read.
I have to give a lot of credit to Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer because this was the book that told it’s okay for a woman author to write a bit of gore. It sounds terrible to read that but when I first started writing Ghoul WIP, a story about aswang, ghosts, demons, and manananggal, I worried about how much detail of death and violence I could write into the book. Not Even Bones helped me overcome that fear and taught me how to effectively write about bloody businesses that gives meaning to the narrative.
Read my review for Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer: An Inhuman World & Monsters with a Conscience
The Bear and The Nightingale by Katherine Arden had beautiful prose. Even after reading the book, I felt caught in the dark, cold winter of Russia. I wish I could write like Katherine Arden. There is an enchantment to the way she describes the setting; her writing is literally breath-taking. Her portrayal of Vasya spoke to me – how she was plain, stubborn, strange, and strong. Another thing I admired about the novel was its slow pacing. With my book, in spite of it being a fantasy, it is slowly paced. So I did worry whether fantasy readers might find it boring but after reading this book I’m convinced that a slow pacing is fitting to the story I want to tell.
Which book has influenced your writing?
Have you read any of the books I’ve listed?