What Writer is Your Greatest Influence?

I have several authors whom I list as my favorites, or as my greatest influences. I believe a lot of writers probably do the same.

A writer (or artist of any discipline, really) takes a little bit from every piece of work they read or experience. And that’s really the best way to learn. We learn to tell great stories by imitating other great storytellers.

Learning by Imitation

When we’re first learning, the imitation is often just that: a thinly-disguised copy of a favorite story or an obvious mimicry of another author’s style. And that’s okay, because we’re still in the early stages of learning and developing our own style. Our influences are more apparent. Continue reading

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Strong Women of Fantasy – Aravis, from The Chronicles of Narnia

A couple of months ago I wrote a post about Glinda the Good Witch (and other female characters) from L. Frank Baum’s Oz series (the books, not so much the Wizard of Oz movie). I discussed why I thought Glinda was a strong female character – an actual woman of strength, not just a tough, masculine character in a woman’s body.

In today’s world, readers and movie-goers want strong, well-rounded female characters in their stories, not just beautiful damsels in distress or rough-and-tough chicks who want to be one of the guys. There are a lot of popular characters right now that I could point to for my examples, but instead I’m going to continue with the thread started by Glinda, and discuss not only a lesser-known character, but a not-so modern one.

Aravis of Calormen

Aravis Tarkheena

Aravis Tarkheena

The Chronicles of Narnia (written a good 60+ years ago, in case you didn’t know) features several strong female characters, most notably the sisters Lucy and Susan Pevensie, who with their brothers, first find their way into Narnia via a wardrobe. Continue reading