Authors Answer 15 – The Influence of Media

Since the early twentieth century, new types of media have become popular ways of telling stories.  Books were no longer the only way to get your stories.  Movies, radio, television, computer games, the internet, and more kinds of media have influenced many authors. But how are our authors influenced? This week’s question is brought to you by D. T. Nova.

645px-Family_watching_television_1958Question 15: All of us write prose fiction (unless I’m mistaken) in an era that has an astounding variety of storytelling media. Has your writing been significantly influenced by any works of newer media?

Elizabeth Rhodes

When I first started writing novels in earnest a few years ago, I became heavily influenced by the music I happened to be listening to at the time.  Jasper has influences from song lyrics by Nine Inch Nails, Gary Numan, and The Cult.  I have other stories in the works that have been influenced in similar ways from TV shows and video games.  For the most part the newer media just plants a seed, as in “what if these zombies are aware of their transformation?.”  The premise and plot are things I figure out later.

Linda G. Hill

I’m greatly influenced by whomever I’m reading at the current moment, which is why when I’m writing I need to stay away from badly constructed prose. I think it’s because I tend not to really read anymore as much as I tend to study. So if, for instance, I’m reading Stephen King I write like him (which is incidentally most like my natural storytelling voice). Alternately, if I’m reading something with a lot of poor grammar, I tend to edit it as I go along. I find then in my own writing, I pay far too much attention to editing and not enough to flow, which stifles my natural writing voice.

Caren Rich

Not that I know of.  Well, that’s a short answer.

D. T. Nova

While I fall short of my inspiration, I think the biggest influence on what I consider ideal dialogue is Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Some of the clothing and hairstyles that my characters tend to have are influenced by anime and manga.

And then, my first novel more or less belongs to a genre that originated in manga (super robot), and acknowledges those roots with a few direct homages to Mazinger Z.

While there are certainly novels I’ve read with similar pacing, it’s possible that my pacing is influenced by serialized media.

Amy Morris-Jones

Although I am very much a prose writer at heart, I’m in love with some of the “hybrid” creations I’m seeing in the online lit mag world. lit mag world. For example, I appreciate that WhiskeyPaper asks writers whom they publish to suggest a song that goes with their work somehow. Literary Orphans loads up its site with beautiful artwork that supports the writing incredibly well. I also appreciate Storychord where they highlight their multi-media goal: “Every other Monday, Storychord features one story + one image + a one-song soundtrack — each by a different, underexposed artist — for a collaborative, multi-media storytelling experience.”

Jean Davis

I’d love to say yes and feel more worldly, but alas, I write what I like and what pops into my head. The only thing that has significantly changed is that I don’t pay as much attention to word count because there are markets for pretty much any length these days.

Paul B. Spence

Newer?  I find myself influenced by the storytelling media of film and television. I think visually and cinematically about the action.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

There’s definitely no doubt on this one. Popular culture, whether from books, movies, or other forms, has a huge influence on what I write, because I write about what what I love, what excites me, what makes me cry, and what scares the hell out of me. Nowhere to Hide came to life as the result of several years of zombie movies, zombie TV shows, zombie books, and zombie video games. The book that I’m currently working on (which will be part one of a four-part series) is inspired in a lot of ways by several YA series’ that I’ve read in recent years. And stories that I wrote in the past? You’d better believe that they were inspired by what I was watching at the time. Honestly, if you’re not being influenced in some way by the media that you’re surrounded by, your writing is probably extremely boring because it’s human nature that we get some of our best ideas from other people.

S. R. Carrillo

Not exactly. I try to keep the modernity up, seeing as how I don’t write historical fiction, but other than that, I’m largely un-influence-able that way.

H. Anthe Davis

My writing has been greatly influenced by roleplaying games and by anime (Japanese animation).  I really enjoy the bombastic visuals and the wild settings that you can get from both, and since anime is quite willing to twist tropes and deal with darker ideas, it’s given me a lot to think about regarding how I handle plot complications — and how I describe them.  Since I deal in high-magic fantasy, it also gives me a kind of visual lexicon for magical effects, of the type that (until just recently with CGI) you couldn’t expect to see anywhere outside of animation.  I’m also a rules-and-structure nerd, so I’ve built my own RPG framework underneath a lot of the story, but I don’t confine the characters to it really.  You won’t hear dice rolling in the background.

Jay Dee Archer

This is a difficult one.  I find that most of my influence is from good old-fashioned books.  However, in my earlier days of writing, I did have somewhat of an influence from fantasy RPGs and anime.  In university, I watched some. Though these days, my ideas are more grounded in hard sci-fi novels.  I guess I also get some influence from the internet, particularly real science news.  And in fact, a recent physics news report gave me an idea.  Or more precisely, it reinforced an earlier idea that I discarded.

How about you?

Other than books, what other media has influenced your writing?  Are there any specific examples?  Let us know in the comments below.

8 thoughts on “Authors Answer 15 – The Influence of Media”

    1. Yeah, but what system? I can’t even write myself up in GURPS, for example, and stay within the recommended points limit, and I’m hardly “sci-fi novel protagonist” material.

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