Something I like to do when I’m writing is think of which authors influenced the book in question.
I’m not the sort of person who thinks that everything I write is totally original. Everything I write was inspired by something else.
Watching, for example – I describe it to potential readers as ‘Holly Black meets Maggie Stiefvater meets Kate Thompson’. More specifically, it’s ‘Tithe meets Ballad meets The New Policeman’, and anyone here who has read those three books will know instantly that Watching must therefore be about fairies, since that’s what they have in common.
It is about fairies. It has the otherworldly aspect of The New Policeman, and the use of mythological figures such as the Dagda and the phouka/púka/pooka. It has the condemned fairy lover aspect of Ballad (and also the sarcastic and bitter narrator that is my character Alex). It has the evil fairies and the torture of Tithe. It probably wouldn’t come with a ‘parental advisory – adult content’ as the copy of Tithe I first read did, but I’m not convinced that was for the torture.
Some things, I struggle to see exactly where my influences came from. The Quiet Ones, a story about modern-day knights, isn’t directly influenced by any one author. It’s probably the most original thing I’ve ever written. Stylistically, it has some influences, but again they’re from a wide pool of my reading material at the time, not a single genre. No one has read that yet, so I can’t ask anyone for any influences they picked up on. It could be an interesting experiment.
My current WIP, though, which I’m writing for Camp NaNoWriMo, is almost certainly a Tom Holt novel written in the style of Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.
It didn’t start out that way. Its current title is That Was The Bus because it’s supposed to be a book about just missing things, about the jokes you don’t quite get, about the things you don’t quite see. I was hoping it would be a wonderfully confusing novel about parallel worlds and stories. Here’s my blurb from my Camp NaNoWriMo profile:
Every story is real somewhere.
Everything you write is happening. Everything lie you tell is happening. Every single thing is happening.
But those are different worlds, so no one ever knows. No writer realises that the characters they tortured in their sick, sadistic way were actually real.
Only now the worlds are leaking into each other.
Now fiction and reality are beginning to mix.
But what’s fiction, and what’s reality?
And if everyone you meet is someone from a story, who are you? A character, or a writer?
Yeah. That didn’t exactly happen.
From single paragraphs [“She’s a medium. (Actually, she’s a large, but she doesn’t tell anyone that. However, in her professional life, she’s a medium. You know, an occultist. Someone who talks to the dead.)”] to entire scenes, the thing has got progressively weirder and progressively less like a serious novel and more like a NaNo novel where the only thing to do when wordcount is not coming is to add ninjas.
Which I have already done.
I’m not sure why I’m writing this any more. I’m just to stubborn to stop, I think.
But that doesn’t change the fact that this exists:
“It certainly feels like the end of the world,” she says.
“Maybe that’s the wrong phrase to use,” suggests her companion. “I mean, yeah, it’s probably the end of this world, unless we can stop it. But it’s not just Earth that’s suffering. Everyone is leaking through to everywhere. You’ll have Imperial stormtroopers marching through Mordor by this evening, and I think Winterfell’s under the control of Loki. The Marvel one, not the mythology one, thank goodness. We’d be really screwed then. I think Iron Man’s going to fight him for it. The whole Stark in Winterfell thing, you know. But anyway, if it’s the end of anything, it’s the end of all the worlds. It’s the end of reality and fantasy. It’s the end of the universe. If it makes you feel any better, I think the Narnians are mobilising against Captain Hook.”
“Why would that make me feel better?”
“Well, it’s an amusing image, to say the least.”
“Not what I need right now, actually.”
“So you don’t want to hear where Spock is?”
Robyn’s read a lot of books and seen a lot of movies, so she’s keeping up, but her mind is threatening to shut down. She’s got a headache coming on. “No. I don’t. Can you be quiet? I need to check my emails.”
Oh, and the character who isn’t Robyn? The one going on about the end of the world?
That’s a púka. A shapeshifting beastie out of Celtic mythology. Sitting there wisecracking the whole time in a way seriously reminiscent of Paul in that movie, Paul. Great title. Anyway.
That’s what happened.
Tom Holt written in the style of Good Omens.
Thank you very much. I’m here all week.