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All stories are in some way homages to / build out of parts of other stories.
There is nothing new under the sun, but there are lots of old things we don't know yet. -- Ambrose Bierce
Anything I write will have elements of what other people write, but it will also have elements of me.

A few years ago I took a week-long course in autobiographical writing. I did discover that I have a voice of my own. I also got this quote out of the course:

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and (will) be lost....It is not your business to determine how good it is; nor how valuable it is; nor how it compares with other expressions....You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. --Martha Graham
I do have a problem with comparing my writing ability to that of great, accomplished writers (especially Neil Gaiman) and feeling inadequate. Well, duuh, I don't spend 1/100th of the amount of time practicing writing fiction and poetry that they do.

When I listen to music, I always hear influences of other musical artists / styles in a particular piece. That doesn't make the piece less worthwhile on its own.

Comments

( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
xp85goblin
May. 9th, 2001 02:28 am (UTC)
LJ style
The style of my fiction writing has been compared to Daschel Hammet. I am not sure if that applies to my LJ writing. Somehow, writing about a two-fisted, hardboiled IT student doesn't have the dramatic potential of writing about the Maltese Falcon. That is the challenge of it though.
firecat
May. 9th, 2001 09:24 am (UTC)
Re: LJ style
I think there is superhero potential in Two-Fisted Hardboiled IT Student.
xp85goblin
May. 9th, 2001 10:40 am (UTC)
Re: LJ style
Faster than an initialization error, Stronger than a departmental server, able to leap registry entries in a single bound, look up between the ceiling tiles, it't a shirt, its a tie, its The Network Guy!!!
firecat
May. 9th, 2001 11:02 am (UTC)
Re: LJ style
[giggle!]

Maybe Network Guy should write some journal entries...
xp85goblin
May. 9th, 2001 11:14 am (UTC)
Re: LJ style
I have no idea how to make network engineering sound interesting to someone else. I find it "sort of" interesting, in the way I find any complicated system interesting, but mostly it is about money. I wish I had the resources with which to build a really interesting personal life, but that is what I am chasing those dollars to do in the first place.
(Anonymous)
May. 10th, 2001 05:00 am (UTC)
Re: LJ style
William Gibson comes to mind. If you consider that he wrote Neuromancer before there really was much of a world wide web, or much in the way of internetworking, you'll realize that he was on to something. He made the network the setting, or flavour for a larger setting, but he made it cool to want to jack in.

My fifty-one.
xp85goblin
May. 10th, 2001 05:33 am (UTC)
Re: LJ style
True, I do LJ to stretch myself as a writer. Trying to make the tech stuff sound interesting to a layman would be an added challenge.
(Anonymous)
May. 9th, 2001 11:32 am (UTC)
I'd say that influences are a very strong part of your writing armour. They're important, especially when getting rolling and out into the universe. King talks about it in ON WRITING.

And hell, if I sounded like Gaiman, I'd be thrilled.
firecat
May. 9th, 2001 11:47 am (UTC)
On Writing is next on my to-read list.

I don't know if I sound like Gaiman. He is just the writer I have lately chosen to envy, because he is my age, and writes about subjects I find fascinating, and has written novels and comix, and if that weren't enough, he's also a really nice person!
(Anonymous)
May. 9th, 2001 11:50 am (UTC)
It's a great book, On Writing, that is. I've thrown away about 30 writing books and replaced them with that. Literally. I gave them to my friend, Jon.

Gaiman's a nice fellow, I hear from interviews. I've never met him. I've met a few authors and they seem nice. I'd hope I'm nice when I'm finally to the point that people wanted to meet me because of my writing. Until then, I don't have to be as nice, right?

firecat
May. 9th, 2001 12:04 pm (UTC)
Were any Natalie Goldberg books among the 30 you threw away?
People like me because I'm no threat. They think I'm nice. No writer is nice. It's a misconception. -- Alan Bennet, playwright
(Anonymous)
May. 9th, 2001 12:45 pm (UTC)
I most definitely threw away the Natalie book.

Kind of like the quote: If you meet Buddha on the road, kill him.

Learn to freewrite. Do it often. Do it your own way. But do NOT follow the teacher. Be your own.

That's my thought on it.


firecat
May. 9th, 2001 01:42 pm (UTC)
I liked the Natalie Goldberg books, but I can't say that they inspired me to do a lot of writing.
(Anonymous)
May. 9th, 2001 01:44 pm (UTC)
They make me waste time, and I work hard at killing what makes me waste time.
firecat
May. 9th, 2001 02:34 pm (UTC)
Eek! I will stop replying to your comments right away...
(Anonymous)
May. 9th, 2001 03:49 pm (UTC)
silly human.
(Anonymous)
May. 14th, 2001 07:00 am (UTC)
Neil Gaiman Journal
Hey, did you know Neil Gaiman posts his own journal on the web? Want the address?
firecat
May. 14th, 2001 09:11 am (UTC)
Re: Neil Gaiman Journal
Sure!
(Anonymous)
May. 14th, 2001 10:52 am (UTC)
http://www.americangods.com/journal.html
firecat
May. 14th, 2001 11:16 am (UTC)
[*** bounce bounce bounce ***]
Thanks!
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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