22 August 2016

In Which the Books that Shaped Me Finally Get Credit

Ooooh what's that in the background??? Could it be a Space Pirate and a Lava Viking? YOU WILL NEVER KNOW.
So this day of Writer's Camp is basically where I get to share what books have most shaped and inspired me as a writer (and who am I kidding, just as a person in general).

Something you may know about me is that I am an avid fiction reader. I love me some good books. Something you may NOT know about me is that many books have affected me deeply--on even a spiritual level. This is why I keep writing, through all the days where I feel like it doesn't matter and makes no difference in the world. Because stories helped me to see God. And that is what I want to do as a writer. I don't care about being a bestselling author, I don't need to make a living off of it, I am not particularly interested in writing a story that makes a really great movie....I just want my readers (no matter how few of them there are) to see God.

So. On ho to the writers that did that for me.

J.R.R. Tolkien

 Who doesn't have Tolkien on the list?? I read The Lord of the Rings during an integral time of my life--namely, around the time that I really accepted Christ as my Savior. I had before, but this was the time when I really decided that I wanted to give Jesus my all. LOTR really highlighted one of the things that still shapes me as a Christian today--the fact that there is a battle. There is good and evil. There is dark and there is light that is unquenchable. There is despair and there is hope. Tolkien really writes a beautiful story of redemption, fighting hard, and the way that it is a struggle, but good always overcomes.

There is one part in The Return of the King that really sticks with me, and has stuck with a lot of people that I know who have read this book, and I think that part really sums up what LOTR means to me. Sam is with Frodo in the heart of Mordor, out of food and water and quickly running out of hope, and he looks up. The clouds have parted for a brief moment, and he sees one singular star. And that star makes all of the difference--

"The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the though pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach." --From The Return of the King

C.S. Lewis

I grew up on the Narnia books. My mom read them aloud to us kids from a very young age (can't remember when) and ever since, my stories and ideas have been shaped by Lewis's taste for epic adventure, deep themes, and lovable characters. One thing that really didn't kick in until pretty recently is the fact that Lewis does not shy away from writing about the Gospel. He doesn't balk at having a God figure very predominantly part of these stories. Why? Because why not? If God has radically changed your life, why on earth would He not radically change your characters' lives? Lewis helped me to question my own hesitation to write boldly about God in my stories, which has been one of the greatest growing moments for me as a writer. Puddleglum says it best--

"Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things--trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that's a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We're just babies making up a game, if you're right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That's why I'm going to stand by the play-world. I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't an Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't a Narnia." --From The Silver Chair 

Andrew Peterson

Ho baby. I could gush about Andrew Peterson's Wingfeather Saga for years. I think that he wrote everything that I needed to hear.... and God brought it to me right when I needed to hear it. Whether through extremely relatable characters, extremely difficult situations, extremely hilarious parts, or extreme moments of seeing the nature of our God just when everything seems the bleakest it can ever be, Peterson weaves the tales that people need to read. He writes stories with soul. Stories with fierce fire, black darkness, bright light, deep heartache and redemption that shatters all of the cages of fear. He reminds me that stories have power--they can either break down or, in the case of Peterson's books, raise toward Christ and His powerful grace. We all need it. And we all need that reminder. And those are the sorts of stories that I want to write. Take a peek at this interaction between the main character and the Maker--

"Be still.
'Yes sir," Janner repeated, and now he was crying. He felt in his heart a braid of pain and delight and longing that made his bones burn and his heart quake. All his attention turned from himself and he yearned for the speaker of those words so desperately that he wished he could die and be born again as a single spoken syllable from his mouth, just to know the pleasure of his presence." --From The Warden and the Wolf King

There are many, many others that I could mention, including N.D. Wilson (a master of plot and dialogue and realisticness despite awesome fantasy and deep thoughts woven into hilarious normalness and non-normalness), Trenton Lee Stewart (because seriously, The Mysterious Benedict Society), A.S. Peterson (aakndknwonewonaonw no words), Michael D. O'Brien (ARE YOU KIDDING ME), Lloyd Alexander (I love Fflewddur Fflam so much), and many more. I seriously don't even remember all of the writers who have shaped me, but they all deserve credit and money and chocolate and kudos and fans and stuff. XD  

So yeah. Those are my peoples. Who are yours?


  1. i would like to take a moment to appreciate space pirates and boo lava vikings.
    and now i would like to take a moment to cry a lot over these things that shaped me too. and now i'm done.
    nom. xx


      And yes. Ayuh. You feel me. XD <3

  2. ......I'm never going to finish my book list, am I.

    Oooohhh, and you used the best quote in...the entire Narnia series practically. It didn't shape my writing as It took me several years to collect the whole series and I was already writign by the time I FINALLY got around to procuring Silver Chair but....it...helped. (Sorry, I've been meaning to read through the other blogs and....I love your points and posts. They're brilliant. Thank you. Sorry for my rambling comments....)

    It didn't help my writing but it helps ME. 'I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't an Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't a Narnia'. I have lots of problems with faith and...I've more or less come to the conclusion that if I DON'T believe? There is literally no reason for me to stay alive. Because just going through life for myself is pointless and empty. I'll believe in God and Jesus even if they don't exist - because it's worth it.

    ...I really want to read this Peterson's works though....

    1. Pft. Are any of us? XD

      YES I KNOW I LOVE THAT QUOTE! <3 <3 <3 Puddleglum is the best.

      And yeah, I know what you mean about it not helping your writing per se but helping you. That's like 50-75% of what those quotes/books/authors did for me. To feed the writing, you've gotta feed the writer. So read good books. :-D And yassssss it's soooooo worth it. So so very worth it.


    2. Nope. Good point.

      YES. THANK YOU!! I actually didn't care for him that much until that quote - I was too annoyed with Jill to focus on much else.... The second read through though.... *Grins* I love him. That argument though...makes it SO much better.

      Yes!! Exactly!! Those, poor, poor, misguided people that don't let their kids read fiction books........ (...how do they survive?? *says the person that basically only read fiction for ages...*)

      I WANT TO NOW!!!!

      ...the problem is that I personally own more books than our public library has and I KNOW they don't have his books so.... *sighs* I'll have to see if I can find them online I guess..... *cries* I WANT TO READ THEM!!!!!!!!!

    3. It's so funny how our first read is SO MUCH different than the next ones. I think that I was pretty annoyed with Jill first go as well, and now she's one of my favorite Narnia characters.

      Oh yeah. I have no idea. Fiction was definitely instrumental in my salvation. God uses it for sure. He can use other things too--I mean, some people don't like to read (??????) but He uses all sorts of things. Like sometimes science (which I don't get, but hey, some people do!) XD

      HA. XD They're worth buying. Because they're worth rereading and rereading. So you can't go wrong there. Unless you are broke. In which case........ :-\ Also I think it's hilarious you own so many books already. Your room is probably a wonderland. XD

  3. yeah, no, I still can't stand her. Nope - she annoys me. *sighs* But then again, I hated Edmund too, and then I grew up and found I liked him best.

    ....not read?? Those poor unfortunate souls, in pain - in need....

    .....AND...I have no money either. *sighs* *grins* SIX. HUNDRED. BOOKS!! Or more at this point. I find them at resales for really cheap prices. We have a tiny library. To be fair it TECHNICALLY has more books than I have, but most are either political autobiographies, kids books, or weird romancy action books that are just....ick. Or Amish books.

    1. EDMUND. Ugh, all of those characters are just so good.


      Okay, I feel your pain there. Money is hardddddd for a kid to getttttt. XD

      SIX HUNDRED? *whump* I'm pretty proud of my stash, but at this point it's only three shelves full (because my sis moved out so we had to split the books we shared....sad day.)

    2. Seee????? *Grins*


      *sighs* So. very. hard. *bangs head on desk*

      *gasp* Tragedy!!! I collect books, rescue books.... I have four, five? shelves, but the books are about triple stacked on them to take up all spare room. Our house is really old mobile home, so the shelves almost went through the floor once from the weight....

    3. That...is hilarious. XDDDD Also sad but mostly hilarious.

    4. I RESCUED THEM THOUGH!!!! They're all safe. *grins*


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