Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The First Novel I Ever Read ...

To be entirely honest, I think the first novels I ever really read were the Goosbumps and Fear Street stories by R.L. Stine when I was in third grade. My mother being a teacher and all meant that we got started on reading early, and were keenly encouraged to continue in that vein. I read Redwall, The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, A Wrinkle in Time, etc ... and then in 7th grade I discovered The Hobbit and, by extension, The Lord of the Rings. To say that I became a lifelong fantasy fan at that point is kind of, well, a moot point.

I talk about these first novels of mine because I've been thinking recently about influences, and how susceptible we as writers are to them. My early writings were all influenced by these authors out of sheer necessity; I'd read so much of their works that it was impossible to not write like them. Heck, the first story I ever wrote was a clear Goosebumps clone.

I like to think I've gotten better about hiding my influences in my writing. I read so much now that everything just blends together into a sort of milieu in my head, coming out again in differently synthesized ways that are colored with my particular outlook on the world.

Deep thoughts for 10:26 p.m. on a Wednesday night, huh?

DISCUSSION: What was the first novel you can remember reading? Do you remember how it affected you?

6 comments:

Bane of Anubis said...

The Chronicles of Narnia in 3rd grade... like 7 times each. Vaguely recall some books with pigs. Ender's Game fairly early on too.

My biggest early influence writing style wise was David Eddings, but I'm way past that now... not sure where, but way past.

K. Marie Criddle said...

Mmm. I love talking about this. Mine was Birth of the Firebringer by Meredith Ann Pierce. Besides getting the whole "obsession-with-unicorns" ball a-rolling pretty early, Pierce's prose is thick and rich and beautiful. Same here, the first book I ever wrote was totally "Birth of the Firebringer" for pegasuses. Pegasi? Pergamons.

Bookewyrme said...

My first novels were the Little House on the Prairie books, I'm pretty sure. I was very VERY young (like, maybe five) when I read them. I suspect they helped to form a lifelong love of all things historical in me. Then a couple years later I read The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, which influenced me to go back and read the whole Narnia series as an adult, and almost certainly started me on a path towards reading Fantasy.

~Lia

Laura Martone said...

This is a tough question for me. As an only child - without even first cousins - reading was a HUGE part of my life from an early age, so I'm not sure what my first books were. I remember liking series - such as the Paddington Bear books, Nancy Drew mysteries, Ramona's tales, all of Roahl Dahl's books, etc. - and I recall reading The Secret Garden and Little Women as a young girl. The three books that made me want to be a writer, though, were Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Hobbit, and Different Seasons (the Stephen King novella compilation that contains "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" as well as "The Body," which became Stand By Me).

D.G. Hudson said...

Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke, the Foundation series by Asimov, the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings were some of the first books I read that got me started on sci-fi and fantasy. I now prefer sci-fi. While in elementary school I read every book remotely related to science fiction in our library as well as all the ones about 'unexplained happenings'. Good question, Bane.

I'm sure that our paradigms are determined early on in our life in regard to writing, relationships, etc.

L. T. Host said...

I honestly have no idea what my first novel was. I just know I loved reading, still do, obviously!