For part of my Creative Voice III module we had to come up with our top ten writing influences in chronological order. They could be any type of media, book, film, music, etc. as long as they inspired us to write. So, as I am avoiding doing dissertation work, here is my Top Ten.
1. Disney Films/ Fairy Tales: Okay, this is a bit generic, but I had to pick just one and I couldn't list all of them. My favourite Disney film is constantly changing. It used to be Sleeping Beauty, then The Little Mermaid, then Hercules, and Mulan, and Beauty and the Beast, and The Lion King, and Tangled. Oh, it's just impossible! I love them all! When I was younger I used to read a big fairytale book every night before bed. It used to be my mum's and she had drawn around all the pictures, it is like our only family heirloom, and I hope my kids can read it one day, too. But this book and Disney films inspired me to write my own fairy tales and were responsible for my A* in English for this piece, A Disney Parody.
2. Santa Paws, Come Home by Nicholas Edwards: This is the first book that I read without pictures. I bought it at a book sale at school when I was in year 3, maybe? It's about this amazing dog who gets dog-napped and has to find his way back home. I loved it as a kid and still have it at home on my bookshelf. It inspired me to read, and therefore write later in life.
Also, who couldn't love this little face?
3. Jacqueline Wilson books: Whenever I used to go shopping with my dad we'd always go to Waterstones and I would always buy the latest Jacqueline Wilson book. I would reread them all the time and still do - check out my post on Lola Rose. My all time favourite was the Girls series, you know Girls in Love, Girls Under Pressure, Girls Out Late, and Girls in Tears. I think I liked them so much because I was probably a bit young to read them and I thought they were a little risqué. I also really related to Ellie, the main character, probably because all her friends were pretty and skinny, and she was more on the piggy side. Others that I liked were The Dustbin Baby, The Illustrated Mum, Tracy Beaker, and Diamond Girls. As I got older the books started to get a bit samey, once you read one, you'd read them all. It seemed like Wilson was churning them out. I soon lost interest. But her books made me realise that stories can help people in need or with their problems, and this is what I wanted to communicate through my writing.
4. The Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling: This is a bit of a give in, and is probably on everyone's list in this generation. This was the first series I had ever read, I wasn't into reading when I was younger and I actually saw the movie first. It's just inspiring, and that's all I can really say.
5. Meg Cabot books: When I was in secondary school I remember my friend reading the first The Princess Diaries and was quite surprised because she never read anything. I'd seen the movie and really loved it but I had never bothered to read the book myself. My sister had all of the books in the series at the time and said I should read them. I was sceptical. However, this was my first incident of reading a book and it being so different from the film. At first I was put off. Then I realised that the book was so much better. I couldn't put it down. Soon my sister grew bored of the series and I bought the rest of the books. I remember reading the last one on holiday and it was just a fantastic ending. Some endings to series can be disappointing but this was not the case. I've read nearly all her other books and own most of them, too. I love the Missing series, and especially the Mediator series, which is why I'm so happy to hear that she's writing another one. Cabot's books inspired me to write chick-lit and helped me to progress to more adult fiction like Size 12 isn't Fat. She also writes in lots of different styles like dairies, and one series is done entirely in emails and letters. Since coming to University, however, I realise people don't like chick-lit too much, and have changed my style somewhat. This piece Royalteen was heavily inspired by The Princess Diaries, and to some extent so was The Diary of Lucy Van Helsing.
6. Lord of the Rings film trilogy: This series really got me into fantasy. After watching these films I created my own fantasy world with lots of different kingdoms, knights, princess, witches, and even some magical jewellery. I wrote so many fantasy quest stories...unfortunately, by computer died and I lost them all. Some I have written on paper still and one day I will type them up again. I have all my drawings of maps, weapons, and clothing still. I used to be obsessed by these fantasy stories and spend all my time writing and drawing. I wish I could be in that mindset again. In a way University destroys the creativity because now I'm so worried about editing and publishing that I'm too scared to write anything in case it's crap. When I was younger I wrote whole stories and thought they were amazing! I have recently finished reading Lord of the Rings and I still think it's brilliant, and I really watch the films again. Extended edition, of course.
7. Doctor Who TV series: I never used to care about Doctor Who much but the Doctor reminded me of a boy I fancied (who loved Doctor Who) so I used to watch it constantly and pretend I was the companion. I also fancied David Tennant a little bit, too. Apart from that though, Doctor Who is a great example of how to write a brilliant sci-fi story; it has everything you could possibly want - space travel, time travel, and a main character who can regenerate so you can keep the series going even if the main actor quits! Over the years I have come up with a few Doctor Who story lines and would love to be a writer for the show. It was because of this programme that I took the Sci-Fi and Fantasy module this term. I've also met two of the Doctors, Matt Smith and David Tennant. Oh, and that boy I fancied? He's now my boyfriend!
8. The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan: I started reading this series in year 10 (I liked converse shoes back then and the book cover was a flying converse). I bought the first two and borrowed the others from the school library. I remember finishing my work early in class so I could read them. I was such a nerd! I reread them over the summer on my kindle and I still love them. I have always been interested in Greek mythology, especially after Disney's Hercules, and these books really satisfied my craving. The books we had at home about the Greeks were really dry and boring, so these were the perfect way to learn and be entertained. This has inspired my dissertation as I want to get kids interested in Gothic Literature. Obviously, with the internet it is a lot easier to learn things, I could just Google Greek myths now. But reading is much more fun.
9. The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe: This story seems to have followed me everywhere. I first heard of it via The Simpsons, a very educational source. Then in Art A-Level I was told my subject matter was 'too nice' and should do something more 'edgy'. My art teacher wanted me to do something about gangs and drug culture. Boring! I chose the dark literature route. I illustrated the whole of The Tell-Tale Heart and loved every minute of it. Then in the first term of university I wrote a piece inspired by this story, called Obsession. In the second term I went on to illustrate it. Considering I hadn't been a very Gothic person before, I was really getting into it. There just seems to be a strange affinity with this story, and it has even worked its way into my dissertation too.
10. The Gone series by Michael Grant: I read this series over the summer and oh my God! It is gripping. The last one comes out in April and I am so excited, it is my post-dissertation treat. It has been a huge inspiration for my dissertation and after reading these books I changed my idea completely. Gone was the romcom and instead was a dangerously dark mystery with murder and ghosts. This series made me realise that kids don't need protecting from wicked things, and in fact love to read about them. You can also write about crazy things like mutant powers and 'the gaiaphage' and kids will go along with it.
Obviously, there are so many more books and authors that have inspired and influenced me, but alas, it was a Top Ten, not a Top 100. If you are a budding writer, I recommend you do this too, it can be quite surprising as to what inspires you most.