I always get introspective around my birthday, so I've decided to create an Influence Map or Self-Critique Meme
every year to help guide my introspections to be more positive and proactive!
This year, I thought I'd take a look at my narrative influences. It's a common practice to observe one's artistic influences, so I thought I'd take a look at the stylistic influences that have influenced me as a writer as well.
We are the sum of our influences and something more! I get excited thinking about what my particular brand of influences will equal when I finally put my passion projects out in the world.1. Jacqueline Carey
Specifically, Kushiel's Dart
is still one of my favorite books and worlds to get lost in! Featuring angelic lore, a decadent world of finery, and memorable characters, Carey's worldcrafting is an inspiration not only for my own writing, but for my own visuals as well.2. Guillermo del Toro
I've used a shot from Pan's Labyrinth
for my map, but nearly all of del Toro's stories meld the darkness of our own world with the hidden and fantastic. His stories are full of powerful human emotions punctuated by the use of otherwordly imagery and figments. I also love his inclusion of unexpected POV characters, like the grandpa who would be a vampire in Cronos and most recently Edith of Crimson Peak, a strong-willed writer and passionate woman.3. Game of Thrones
Referring to the TV show
, as I couldn't really get into the books. Game of Thrones was specifically responsible for kindling my hope that if I wrote a fantasy story that wasn't for children that it might actually have a chance of succeeding with wide appeal. Game of Thrones' characters are a wide array of flawed, rash, and idealistic and always suffering the consequences of their decisions, a philosophy I carry into my own writings. Though hopefully with less sadism, as far as character deaths go!4. Drew Hayes' Poison ElvesPoison Elves
ain't your Tolkien Elves! Hayes' comic series played a huge part in my choice of the characters I want to write about. With Elvish thieves, disenchanted rogues, snarky mages, I love the mix of violence and humor with fantasy tropes. Definitely a direct influence on my own very anti-Tolkien Elves!5. Avatar the Last Airbender
While this animated series
may seem like kid's fair when you first watch it, give it time! I could lose myself in this Asian-inspired world that walks the line between living fable and political drama with amazingly conflicted and human characters. One of my particular favorites is the exiled prince Zuko, who also plays a direct influence on my choice of main characters.6. Neil Gaiman's Sandman
When I read Sandman
back in my teens, I fell in love with how it seemed to wrap all of my favorite mythologies into one grand amazing plot told with cheeky humor and glorious surrealism. If I can bring even a hint of this kind of charm to my tales, I will be happy!7. Magi
This anime series
took me completely by surprise! While a show about Sinbad, Ali Baba, and Aladdin sounds like a cheap cash-in on 1001 Arabian Nights, this series manages a colorful and varied cast of characters that feel complex and driven against the backdrop of world that actually pays attention to geography and cultural differences. It's grandiose and tense with a refreshing sense of consequence for its characters. Everyone changes and grows, for better or for worse.8. Fatal Frame Series
This game series
really is so simple, but it's a formula I adore. With vengeful ghosts, ancient rituals, and conflicted protagonists, Fatal frame just oozes folkoric atmosphere through every element. I'm particularly fond of the antagonists throughout the series, usually a vengeful shrine maiden. She usually has a perfectly sympathetic reason for doing what she's doing, despite the fact you spend your whole experience trying to run or fight her. If I can tip that same kind of sympathy for my villains in my writing (plus that amazing atmosphere), I would be happy! 9. Persephone
I should say all of Greco-Roman mythology is a huge influence on me, but the tale of Persephone
particularly inspires me. I'm drawn to those characters who must descend into a strange underworld with nothing but their own will and wits for protection. This is some of the most gripping and terrifying fantasy for me. Orpheus is another favorite character.
Last year's Influence Map:
Original meme by fox-orian