Consider, if you will, the following passage from Terry Pratchett’s Thief of Time:
Suppose you’d watched the slow accretion of snow over thousands of years as it was compressed and pushed over the deep rock until the glacier calved its icebergs into the sea, and you watched an iceberg drift out through the chilly waters, and you got to know its cargo of happy polar bears and seals as they looked forward to a brave new life in the other hemisphere where they say the ice floes are lined with crunchy penguins, and then wham – tragedy loomed in the shape of thousands of tons of unaccountably floating iron and an exciting soundtrack…
I like to hope I’m developing my own writing style as fun to read as that one. It’s not an easy thing for me to do, especially given how heavily influenced I am by the authors I’m reading at the time of any sort of writing. My last short story, for instance, sounded like Chuck Palahniuk at first, because I had been reading Snuff at the time.
When I started Late Fees back on November 1st (still not done, but close to the exciting finale!), I began reading Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series again, because I knew that his humor style was closest to what I wanted my story to sound like, and I would be able to think in my style more clearly if that was the influence I was receiving. Before you accuse me of cheating, though: it’s totally not. It’s really just knowing who I am and what I’m like, and adjusting my habits accordingly.
Plus, Discworld is awesome.
I wonder if this sort of thing affects all artists, or if it’s something more localized to writers? I have a sneaking suspicion, though, that one of the reasons bands start sounding like one another is because that’s exactly who they’re listening to. Same thing with art periods and whatnot. Okay, upon a barely closer inspection, it’s fairly obvious that artists influence each other like crazy.
I wonder who influenced my photography, then?