Wednesday, November 25, 2009

1-Word Author Wisdoms

Whilst tweeting earlier today I pondered the idea of a single great word of wisdom I have received from authors I admire and how to remember it and apply it to my own writing. So here is that list.

From Steven Pressfield, author of Gates of Fire, Tides of War, Virtues of War, The Afhgan Campaign, and the great motivational book War of Art, the single word would be MOMENTUM-the drive to keep working at your art.

From Robert E. Howard, author of Hour of the Dragon, Solomon Kane, Bran Mak Morn-The Last King, Grim Lands, Crimson Shadows and much much more I think the single word that best captures his guide to me in writing is WONDER-Howard never lets up in his pacing or sense of wonder-the mysterious and magical the terror or heroic.

I first read George R.R. Martin a number
of years ago when his Song of Ice and Fire was getting going and was taken aback at his harsh yet realistic low magic world (Thats a good thing). He was the first to present me with the idea of reading and WRITING everyday. I would say the single word for him would be EPIC. There is no hindrance for having a cast of thousands in his series and it still makes sense.

Louis L'Amour
was someone I read a lot of when I was a kid-just the westerns-pulp and full of action with a mysterious stranger who comes to town and takes care of bizness. But as I got older I found he had a lot more to offer-Haunted Mesa, Last of the Breed, Walking Drum, Off the Mangrove Coast. For Louis I would say RANGE. He wrote stories all across the board and I want to as well.

Researching anything of interest led me to pick up Hells Angels by Hunter S. Thompson. He
delighted me with both insanity and humor-Great Shark Hunt, Where the BuffaloRoam, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Titles range far and wide in his reporting of various events and I can't read a piece by him and not chuckle at the least-though he wrote non-fiction he still inspires my fiction and the word would be ABSURDITY.

H.P. Lovecraft is a horror writer extraordinaire with an uncanny gift for delicious purple prose-The Call of Cthullu,
Dagon, At the Mountains of Madness. His malevolent genius for monsters (Old Ones)out of space and time reaches into my brain for crawling hulks to inhabit the dark places where Heroes dare to tread. A single word of lesson from him would be DETAIL.

Cormac McCarthy has a brutal simple
style that evokes a bleak world view-but I am not convinced that is entirely the case. Despite the dark worlds his characters inhabit-The Road, No Country for Old Men and especially his best Blood Meridian-I sense something more -THEME.

The author who has held me longer than any other is undoubtedly J.R.R.Tolkien. By blending myth, lan
guage and legend into a cohesive saga spanning millenia-his works have occupied my daydreams since before I could read- I credit him-IMAGINATION.


One Cluttered Brain said...

WOW! Thanks for the author compilation. I believe I have some reading to do. I like Tolkien and Lovecraft too.

Never read Louis L'Amour. Hubby told me to read Lovecraft--it would help my writing. He also wants me to read Dracula.

Seth Godin writes well too. Have you ever heard of Meatball sundae?
Great book. Are you on Good Reads as well?

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

that is way way cool.

Happy Thanksgiving!

David J. West said...

Alexes WOW I met a Mormon Mommy who reads Lovecraft? I'm impressed-I honestly did not expect to meet one. I throw a few Lovecraftian nods in my book when it comes to some of the Lamanite gods.

Happy Thanksgiving to both of you-Tamara good luck with the pies.

Chad said...

David you really have committed yourself and I am very impressed. Their is no doubt in my mind that you are going to succeed and I am proud to call you my friend. Tolkien for me still makes me giddy. his world is ??? well words fail me but he approaches perfection in his ability to hold a reader, at least he held me. I make it a point to read the Trilogy every year and he still keeps me turning pages late into the night and even early morning. I ran into Kevin today and his son Stryder. I thought his name was Aragon, or Legolas, I wasn't sure, but even Tolkien can influence even those who dare not dwell to deep in the literate world.

David J. West said...

Good ole Kevvy-yehI think he hs only seen the movies, after Two Towers came out and he said he was naming his son Strider I told him BIG mistake-Aragorn?Strider becomes a traitor is the wickedest villianin the series. He panicked a grim moment.