Let the Sparks Fly


Christine over at The Writer Coaster is hosting the Sparkfest blogfest this week and challenged us to share the book(s) that ignited our writerly imaginations and doomed us to be writers.

Well, technically, the first thing I remember writing on my own was a spin-off of the Three Little Pigs when I was about five. I even bound it in “hardcover” with scraps of black cardboard.

But the real credit for sucking me in as a true-to-the-bone, no-turning-back, writing-is-like-breathing author goes to Anne McCaffrey. I loved her Dragonflight so much in grade school that I refused to return it to my school’s library at the end of the year (they let me keep it!). Since then, I’ve devoured a number of her other Pern novels, but Dragonflight holds a special place in my heart.

It was the book that first made me dream of other worlds, whose characters I wanted to be, in a way that made me want to craft my own. I wrote my first piece of fan-fic based on it — a cringingly na├»ve and lovable tome that shall not see the light of day — and there was no turning back.

Soon after, I had the opening chapters of my very first original WIP. A story I still hope to get back to someday, though I’ve already pulled bits and pieces into my other work over the years.

Robert Jordan and M.M. Kaye also had a major impact on my writing. M.M. Kaye, in particular, taught me about the art of subtlety, stakes and far-reaching scope. Her style is completely different than my own, but I adore her use of language. And, yes, yes, I know there are two opposing camps on Robert Jordan. Just count me on the “love” side and be done with it. :)

Together, these three authors showed me how truly powerful stories can be. To this day, I still look to them for inspiration. So, wherever you are, guys…thanks…more than you can know!

17 comments:

  1. It's so lovely to have that special book that means so much to you. And I love your homemade hardback!

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  2. Oh yes, the homemade hardcover was...quite classic. :)

    Congrats again on finishing your draft!

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  3. I love the Dragonriders of Pern series. I read the first three books for my fifth grade book report. I just couldn't stop reading them.

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  4. Be done with it? BE DONE WITH IT? Clearly you don't know who you're talking to. :P

    I've never read the Pern books before. I hear they become more of a Science Fantasy thing in later books? But they're on my list for my study of the fantasy genre.

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  5. Sarah - :) I knew you'd like that.

    Pern definitely goes sci fi in the later books, but the first trilogy is more on the pure fantasy side. They're still my faves of the series.

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  6. Oohhh, Anne McCaffrey! I devoured Dragonriders of Pern. And Jordan, too. Even though I don't write fantasy (yet, anyway -- all that world building intimidates me), those are some of the most engaging books I ever read.

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  7. My kids write books all the time. Although none of them has thought to use cardboard yet. I need to check out the Pern books thanks for the tip.

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  8. I can totally relate. I want to be one of those writers that can touch readers like that!

    The Write Soil

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  9. Yay - fellow Pern lovers! Thanks for the comments, guys. And, Callie, there's always time to start writing fantasy. :)

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  10. Dragonflight was an incredible read. Well, actually, I listened to it on a long trip in the car once. I was so hooked after that.

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  11. that's so funny that the library let you keep the book! lovely post.

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  12. Hi, Nicole! These are all wonderful authors. I've read some of their books. That's awesome your school let you keep the book! Encouraging reading is a wonderful thing all teachers and librarians can easily do. :)

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  13. Well, I had re-checked in out about a dozen times throughout the school year...so I think they finally had sympathy on me. :)

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  14. Dragonflight was the first adult fantasy novel I ever read. I was eleven at the time, and even though I was a little confused/embarrassed by the fact that my aunt had lent me a book with a sex scene in it, I LOVED the story. I read it several times and then went on to read most of the other Dragonrider books (I also checked out my library's copy of the Dragonlover's Guide to Pern about a million times and made the klah recipe upon several occasions). I haven't reread them in years, but you've kind of inspired me to go back and revisit them. :-) Thanks for posting!

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  15. Ari - I can definitely relate...and now I have a hankering for some klah!

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  16. Yay! My first Pern introduction was in one of my seventh grade textbooks! There was actually a hatchery scene extracted from one of her novels and put into a literature anthology. Little did I realize at the time how cool and abnormal that textbook was. I never forgot that snippet, even though I didn't know who wrote it, and years later when I read "Dragonsong" I recognized the author immediately. Just recently my husband and I were talking about "dragon books" and I was complaining about how a lot of modern ones feel ripped off of Anne McCaffrey. He was like, "Who?"

    I rambled for a while.

    It must have put a bit of curiosity in him, because a couple days later he showed up after work with the first five books. He'd already started reading Dragonflight and was telling me how great it was.

    Amazing to see how well those books hold up over the years, blowing all the copycats out of the water.

    Possibly even more awesome is the fact that a male reader enjoys reading about a female protag when she's written well.

    Nice spark. Evidently you've got me going too XD

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  17. Glad to keep the spark going, Christine. Thanks for hosting such an awesome blogfest!

    I agree it's pretty impressive how the Pern books are still so beloved now, years later. I'm so glad your husband's enjoying them too! Lessa remains one of my absolute favorite characters to this day!

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