Who are your influences? I used to run a blog called Swimming Under, a nod to the Fitzgerald quote, “All good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath.” On that blog, I wrote a series of posts on authors that inspired me. I thought it would be relevant to share some of them here, along with the reasons why.
I have described myself as Chuck Palahniuk and Anne Rice’s love child, so let’s start with them.
Chuck for his humor, his ability to wrap a story in a story, and his “fuck you, I’m writing here!” attitude. He totally disregards rules of grammar when it helps him tell his story.
Anne because because of her ability to draw you in with the first person perspective. I can’t imagine writing a story any other way. I’ve tried, and it doesn’t work for me.
The magnificent Saul Bellow, for knowing how to get into a character’s head. You don’t care what the fuck is going on, because you get to see the world perfectly through another human being. And, when you think about it, Saul was as goth as Anne ever was. “Whoa is me!” Says every character in a Saul Bellow joint.
Stephen King, as I mentioned before is a working man’s writer. He’s putting one word in front of the other and building it like a brick house. Also, he taught me that it’s always about telling a story. Don’t be a wanker. Tell a story.
Kurt Vonnegut, for the beats. The man had rhythm. Also, a home town hero. “And so it goes….”
Philip K. Dick, for teaching me about the weird, and the truth about genres. The only difference between science fiction and “literary” fiction is how many times you use the word “fuck.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald, for the whole lot put together. How can it be poetry and prose at the same time? Why did they make a movie out of this book when it’s all about the language? No wait, it’s about the characters. And the story. Fuck, it’s about all of it. The Great Gatsby is about as perfect as a novel can be.