Inspiration in a book

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I was trying to decide what to write in follow up to my introductory blog post My first of many. The decision was a bit of a difficult one as I have quite a bit to talk about and I very nearly jumped straight in with a post discussing one of the things that can stop my writing in its tracks. Then I remembered my first ever lessons on story writing, my teacher said every story needs a beginning, a middle and an end, so not wanting to disappoint my teacher from 20 odd years ago I figured I’d better start at the begging.

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My first writing experience

As far as I can remember my first ever story I wrote was about a boy in a bubble and the adventures he had. I think I was only about 6 or 7 and I can clearly remember I wrote a good few pages for my story. The main character was called Tom and he got stuck in a giant bubble. He spent his time flying around in the bubble meeting new people and performing card tricks. All in all it sounds very random but in fairness at the time I was a child engaging in creative writing. I think even back then I must have had the writing bug and once I got started, I didn’t want to stop.

Since that first story I’ve written a few more over the years as well as bits of rudimentary poetry although nothing of any considerable length or quality. Growing up I spent the vast majority of my time watching and playing football, bashing enemies on computer games and reading, so It’s probably fair to say writing wasn’t always at the forefront of my agenda. However in the last few years I’ve discovered that I find writing a relaxing and cathartic experience. This discovery has led me to develop the dream of writing a book and becoming a published author (see My First of Many for more details) which has ultimately led to the creation of this blog.

The books that have inspired me to write

Sitting down to write this post made me really think about what has inspired me to take writing more seriously and apart from the reasons discussed previously I realised that certain books I’ve read over the years have made me think about writing in a more serious light and started to make me think that writing a book is something I’d like to try. I’ve read a lot of books by a vast array of authors and there are many I could pick out as worthy of writing about. I’m only going to pick out 5 that have inspired me, each in different ways and for different reasons. I’m not going to give you comprehensive book reviews here rather just snippets so you can understand what I’m talking about.

  1. The Street Lawyer by John Grisham – Grisham writes in a way that draws you in to the American Legal System and makes you feel like you are in the law offices and courtrooms with the characters. It’s not the law aspects of this book that inspires me though, it’s the fact he’s writing about characters in a situation that really is a world away from the law that we see on TV, it’s not pretty or glamorous but it is completely necessary. His venture into the world of the homeless and helpless made me see that a good author can move into areas outside of their natural environment and comfort zone. It’s a great example for me of an author not confining or pigeon holing himself and I hope that as I improve as a writer I can accomplish this too.
  1. Against All Odds by Paul Connolly – Perhaps not an obvious choice and certainly not the most well known book on the list. It’s definitely not a book everyone would enjoy but I chose it because it is a story about overcoming adversity. For me it optimises how people can overcome the most appalling experiences to make a success of their lives. It motivated me because even though the author didn’t learn to read until they were 25, they have gone on to be a successful author.
  1. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling – I love these books, I can and do read them over and over without ever getting bored of them. To me they are the ultimate fantasy books and J K Rowling expertly brings to life a world of magic and makes it almost tangible to the reader. As a writer that wants to write fantasy adventure books these are the gold standard of the genre, these are the books I look at and say that’s what I want to create and achieve. Every character has depth and shades of light and dark that readers can relate to. The world that Rowling has so lovingly created is so detailed and rich in atmosphere that it’s easy to lose yourself in the pages of these books, so it’s no wonder they have been as successful as they have. The fact they have drawn in readers from all age groups and genres is no surprise and in my opinion they rank as some of the greatest books ever written and they really helped to inspire me to write.
  1. Eragon by Christopher Paolini – Elves, dwarves and dragons, what’s not to love. Another set of books from the fantasy genre and again I can read these over and over. However what really strikes me about Eragon is that the author wrote the first draft at just 15 years old. For a book as detailed as Eragon to be created by someone as young as that is very impressive. For me it serves as a reminder that age doesn’t matter when it comes to writing, its all about having an idea, sticking at it and learning your craft.
  1. Marley & Me by John Grogan – Possibly one of the most poignant books I’ve ever read. As a dog lover I could identify with so much of this book and the love and devotion the author possessed for his lovable Labrador Marley is clear throughout the book. This made my inspiration list for the simple reason that its the only book to ever make me cry. That to me signifies the power that books and writing have. If something is written well enough then it will automatically conjure up emotions in a reader which is definitely something to strive for whenever I am writing.

There you have it, 5 of the literary works that have really given me inspiration to write. I hope over time I can improve as a writer and these are authors that one day If I’m lucky I’d like to be able to compare myself against. If I could be half as successful as they’ve been that would be a real achievement but for now I need to concentrate on improving and keep plugging away at the book until I have something worthy of calling a finished product.