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Which books inspired you to write?

edited October 2005 in - Reading


  • To give me a little inspiration, i would like to read some truly great books. Can anyone recommend any that inspired them?

    I think my favourite so far is 'Baudolino' by Umberto Eco.
  • Judith Krantz
  • Have you read The Hours (Michael Cunningham)? I found I had to read it very slowly so that I could savour the words, which are put together beautifully. The book is 'deep', which I like. It's quite a short book too. Every time I read a chapter I wanted to pick up my pen!
  • Does anyone remember the novelist Rosemary Timperley?  She wrote psycho-thrillers such as 'The Secret Dancer.' She was one who inspired writers to 'write in your own voice'
  • P.s. I love you by Cecelia Ahern and Alice Seabold`s Lovely Bones are two really inspiring and totally different novels. Another, slightly older book, is Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier - that one is such an amazing page turning book. I`d also suggest novels on novel writing. Failing that a quick flick through writers magazine or news is inspirational enough!
  • No one book in itself inspired me to write, as it was always something I wanted to do, and determined to try.  However, my favourite books are Chocolat by Joanne Harris, and Impossible Saints by Michele Roberts - both are amazingly well written.

    For non-fiction to inspire, simply by the depth of the research and the soul-searching it must have taken, The Good Women of China by Xinran is hard to beat - you'll need the Kleenex...
  • Taffeta-if you liked books on China, have you read 'Wild Swan'?
  • Hello, I'm new to the website.  The books i've enjoyed reading over the last few months are:
    To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf; Eve Green by Susan Fletcher.  Both beautifully poetic novels. I've also read Dorothy Wordsworth The Grasmere and Alfoxden Journals (for the second time) written in the early 1800s at the time Dorothy and William lived together. William wrote his best poems during this period.  If your interested in poetry then would recommend Alice Oswald Woods etc and Nick Laird To a Fault.  I'm currently reading The Ode Less Travelled by Stephen Fry and The Sea by John Banville.
  • The book that inspired me to write throughout my whole life from childhood is 'The Faraway Tree'.  It was a book that opened up my imagination and I always wished I was a character within it.
    Today though, I am reading Romance/Saga Novels but am writing the complete opposite, a crime novel.
    The inspiration remains strong by been in contact with Writing Magazine's Talkback as everyone is of great support for each other.
  • Alana - I loved the Far Away Tree also, infact i still have the books!
  • Don't worry Flower 'The Faraway Tree' still remains on my bookshelf as well.  I could never throw it away!
  • have to say that enid blyton's books in general got me into reading and wanting create an action packed story for my mum, as did c. s. lewis' 'the lion, the witch and the wardrobe' (my first novel that i read on my own!!). when i got older brian jacques' writing greatly inspired me, and so did his bit of advice on the redwall website:

    'Paint. That's the magic word. Paint pictures with words. That's the greatest advice I can give anybody. Paint the pictures with words. The picture will appear in the imagination so the person reading it can say, "I can see that".'

  • Jennifer, that's a lovely idea'painting pictures with words', sounds like you could be a budding poet.
  • i didnt make that up!! brian jacques did!! its on the redwall website (www.redwall.org) but i do have it printed out and stuck on my wall to remind me.
  • Sal, I haven't read Wild Swans yet, but it has been on my shelf for a while.  I've so many that I've bought, that I've not had the chance to read them all, and I get inspired to read different things at different times (I have markers in several books at any one time).  However, having read Xinran (and also her book called Sky Burial), it is something I endeavour to do before too long.  The whole China 'thing' fascinates me.
  • I think William Trevor fires me to keep going. I love both his novels and short stories. I have just finished reading his latest collection of short stories entitled `A bit on the side`set mainly in Ireland. The prose is beautiful and he really gets inside the heads of his characters.In fact I am late taking it back to the library so thank goodness I am over 60 and don`t have to pay! (I know it`s awful but I don`t do it very often honest).
  • Hi Tafetta
    Same here.  So many books people lend me etc and I buy.  Think I need that desrt island for the time to read them all
  • The Horse Whisperer was beautifully written. Also, stephen King has a wonderful loose style that makes you forget you're actually reading! Dan Brown's The Da Vinci code has a frightening amount of research in it, tying in fiction, fable and fact in a way that makes the whole thing so believable!
  • The Tales of the City series by Armistead Maupin.

    It was the sort of thing I wanted to write, so I thought I'd have a go - and I eventually got published (my first short story was published by accident!).
  • The book which first inspired me to write was Little Women.  I got it for Christmas when I was eleven, and it was the first time I realised that books were written by people who weren't dead!  These days, when authors actually visit schools, I would have picked up on this much quicker.  As it was, I had to rely on one long-dead author and Jo March - if she could do it, so could I!
  • Pink princess: which novels about novel writing did you have in mind?
  • Eleanor Rigby and Hey Nostradamous by Douglas Coupland are really inspiring and brilliantly written. Other People by Martin Amis is also really good. :D

  • as well as brian jacques, theres my all-time favourite enid blyton. also the teenage fantasy writer tamora pierce. fantastic writer!!
  • Looking at all the past posts it seems as though i'm either the youngest person to post on this site or simply that others have more refined tastes. So the books that inspired my not only to write but also hooked me on reading were a part of the Dragonlance Chronicles; namely "Dragons of Autumn Twilight", "Dragons of Winter Night" etc (one for each season). The characters in those books were stunningly in-depth and love-able regardless of moral standing. As a young guy its hard for me to say...but yeah, i nearly cried when one of the main characters dies (which, i might add bambi failed to do (haha, in your face Walt Disney!)). Coincidentally i've fell into a rut of generally reading only fiction/fantasy stuff (with the exception of Bernard Cornwell's "Sharpe" series). I will most certainly be taking hints from those books when i am building character traits and personalities.
  • how old are you dan? we could be competing, otherwise il feel old which is ridiculous :S.
  • The books that have inspired me to write is "The Wheel of Time" series by Robert Jordan. He has like 11 books out and i always get excited when i go into a bookstore and find out he has a new one out.

    Christopher Pike's "The Last Vampire" series is inspired me also. Although his writing sometimes confuses me so i have to reread a certain section/s again. But other than that his characters are usually very strong.

    But mostly i tend to be inspired by Manga (Japanese comics). Japanese seem to not understand the meaning of the words 'weird', 'unusual' or 'impossible'. In manga, anything can happen. From a church that houses lost souls and only humans can solve the riddles of their deaths to release them so they can rest in peace(Bizenghast), to a world where computers look like humans and the only way to tell them apart from humans is ther ears that hide their connection ports (Chobits).
  • I'm the same as Alana, though it was the enchanted wood and not the faraway tree that inspired me to write
  • OMG FMN, I loved Enchanted Wood, and Faraway Tree.
  • :D yeah they were great! aaah *reminisces*. One of the girls I babysit is reading it right now and can't put it down, I love to see that as she was never much of a reader!
  • Oh yeah, I read my first when I was eight. I think they might still be hidden somewhere in my parents' loft.
  • the girl I babysit is 8! I was p2, so that would be 5/6? before you say, the teacher read it to us, I bought them myself a couple years later and read them again and again.
  • I think it was Secret Agents. I still haven't read all that series yet..
  • Oh and I enjoyed the Wishing Chair
  • edited May 2009
    love that! not as good as the others though. I got that as a prize for something (dunno what, probably reading) and I still have it with its inscription on the inside. I keep it beside a book dad has, also from winning something in p1.
  • The first books i remember enjoying were Bird Mountain and House of Birds...they both conjured up worlds in my mind. After that it was the Enid Blyton series 'Five Find-Outers' (especially The Mystery of the Disappearing Cat, and The Mystery of the Strange Bundle.)
  • Probably Alan Garner's Weirdstone of Brisingamen.
  • Stirling, I lived only a few miles from Alderley Edge for a while when I was young and knew all the places in Weirdstone and Moon of Gomrath and that made the stories scarier and more real to me. Alan Garner inspired me, too (he wrote The Owl Service, what else? And Elidor)
    And around the same time, inspiration also came from: Richard Bach (Jonathan Livingston Seagull etc) Mary Stewart (Nine coaches waiting etc) DKBroster (gleam in the north, flight of the heron) CSLewis (Narnia) KMPeyton (Flambards and all her brilliant pony books) Mary O'Hara (Green Grass of Wyoming) the Pullein-Thomson sisters (horses by the hundred!) and a lovely book called Red Moon and Black Mountain by Joy Chant
  • I loved Enid Blyton and Little Women too.
  • But I think it was the Chronicles of Narnia that first inspired me most to write.
  • I just went back and checked and see I have not posted on this at all and that is because I can't think of any books that inspired me to write, I just did, from the age of 5 onwards, scribbled all the time and read everything I could get my hands on. I think the two actually came together to inspire me in an odd way. I know what inspired me to write SF for many years, an uncle giving me copies of Fantasy and Science Fiction and Amazing magazines, which were not easily obtained back then. I fell in love with them and wrote loads of SF based short stories. Then I discovered Ray Bradbury and was lost!
  • It would have to be Raymond E. Feist's Magician that first made me want to write. I was sixteen, and it just stole me away, so I started trying to write fantasy, rubbish fantasy might I add. Then I got handed IT by Stephen King a few months later and by the second page I was just sat there looking shocked and thinking 'You can't write that!' so then I tried to write horror, badly. And never looked back lol
  • I always find it amusing when writers in interviews say they always knew they were going to be writers. Well I didn't up to the age of 15 I wanted to be a Doctor then for a few years I was going to follow my aunt into physiology. It was only at 17 that I knew I wanted to make writing my career.
  • I don't want to make it my career. But I want to have it for something to relax to, and stuff..
  • I knew by the age of 9.
  • Well I was always writing stories when I was younger. Then I 'tried' to write a novel. Yeah, didn't go to well. It's taken me about two years to actually have original ideas. Also, I've tried been creative, scrapbooks etc.. but writing is the only thing that's 'stuck'
  • I'm with red, i knew really young too. The enchanted wood at 6 years old made me want to write, but by the next week i wanted to be a vet or a power ranger. I don't exactly know when i left the other dreams behind but i'm certain I was still pretty young.
  • I only really realised i wanted to write when i was in grade 10... so I was 14 or 15 at the time of starting my novel as a creative assignment. What really got me writing was the Harry Potter series which i started reading in 2002... before HP i hadn't really found any books that gripped me... but after reading HP and then LOTR etc... i found i could write fantasy... and now whenever i have a block or just can't write a certain scene i need to read a fantasy book to inspire me again...

    i always loved Enid Blyton... the faraway tree stories were really cool... i didn't enjoy her famour five or secret seven books but i did enjoy the other mystery series... which has the characters Roger, Diana, Snubby, Barney and the two animals Miranda the monkey and Looney the black labrador! I had the bumper edition... which had 3 of those stories... The Ragamuffin Mystery, The Ratatat-tat Mystery and another one i cannot remember at the moment... all my enid blyton books got left in SA with my sister :( but i found another of this mystery series called The Ring o' Bells Mystery when we arrived in the UK...
    Anyone remember Gobbolino?- also left with sister i think but i found a copy of the book in a charity shop...

    i also enjoyed Dick King Smith, A Mouse Called Wolfe, School Mouse... etc...

    i always enjoyed writing creative essays as school but definately only when i was writing the creative assignment did i realise that i wanted to write
  • Enid Blyton!
  • I must say, Enid Blyton's Secret Seven got me into reading like I do now.
  • Don't knock her, RandomGuy, she certainly has her place!
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