Jul 9, 2009


Yes, I know. What a scintillating post title, but hey, I'm still on vacation here! :-)

Earlier in the week, Benjamin Solah stole borrowed a post from Jodi Cleghorn over at Write Anything so I thought it was only fair that I steal borrow it from him.

To keep you from getting utterly confused, I'm taking my quotes directly from Jodi's site, although feel free to follow the links above to check out the original posts. The ellispes indicate where I've cut words out for the sake of brevity.

. . . In a nutshell – write what you know. But what if there are things you don’t realise you know?

A few weeks ago I had the delight to befriend emerging novelist Holly West via Twitter . . . West’s post is based on questions posed in literary agent Donald Maass’s book Writing the Break Out Novel . . . the questions West posted and answered on her site seemed to me to be valuable to writers of both long and short prose alike.

The three questions which appear on West’s website, from Maass’s book are:

What are your top three novels?
What do they have in common?
What do you bring into your novel from your top three favourites?

Did everyone understand that? Okay, so here's my answers:

What are your top three novels?

It would be easy to just pull the first three Charles de Lint books off the shelf and go with them, but after careful consideration, I’ll limit myself to only one of his, the first one I ever read, Moonheart. The next book on my top three would have to be The Woodwife, by Terri Windling. Third is The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas.

What do they have in common?

It’s easy to see what the first two have in common, they’re both urban fantasy, but what about the Count of Monte Cristo? It turns out the common thread in the Count was just as easy to find. All three are about ordinary people caught up in extraordinary circumstances.

What do you bring into your novel from your top three favourites?

I do see the influence of all three in my own writing. Even though I gravitate towards romance and the paranormal, I tend to write about ordinary women caught up in unusual circumstances. Looking back at some of my earlier work, I find this has been true of all my fiction writing. Like my three favourites, I try to make the situations plausible, as if they could really happen under the right circumstances.

Now, go think about what your three favorite books are and how they've influenced you. And while you're at it, check out Ben's blog HERE , the Write Anything site HERE and Jodi's blog HERE .


Jamie D. said...

Interesting, isn't it? I saw this over at Ben's blog the other day, and now here it is at yours. Since I saw it at Ben's, I've been considering just exactly what my favorite three novels of all time would be (because how can I choose just three out of literally hundreds?).

I think it's come down to:

Call of the Wild by Jack London
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Society of the Mind by Eric L. Harry.

All three are rather dramatic, adventurous and emotionally charged...and address overcoming huge fears by digging deep within. I certainly see elements of those in my own writing as well.

C R Ward said...

Choosing just three was really hard because I have so many books and so many favourites.

Jodi Cleghorn said...

Hi Carol,
Thanks for stopping by my blog and for reposting part of my article here.

As I said on Beanjamin's blog - I LOVE the viral nature of the internet and glad Holly's original blog post inspired so many other people to consider their favourite books and the commonalities in them.

Can't wait to see what you write from my list from Chinese Whisperings.

Just a note on Chinese Whisperings - it is an anthology (currently being written) 10 stand alone, but interconnected stories written by 10 writers. The questions which appear on my blog were complied by the writers working on the anthology and are being used as promo stuff for the writers and the anthology.

I'm hoping to answer all the questions nominated by people. Perhaps I should bring a couple of those questions to my Write Anything column over the next few weeks?

Thanks for stopping by and interesting threads in your books and your writing.

Benjamin Solah said...

Excellent answers Carol.

I love to see what people's writing is really about and I think these meme things really get to the heart of it.