Sunday, August 21, 2011

15-day Challenge: Day Four: Inspiration

15-Day Challenge Day Four:
{A novel or author that has inspired something in your writing style}

I am one so apt to catch grains of inspiration as they fall from each book I open that this is rather an interesting question for me. But of course I now realize the happy truth that the question is a writer or book, not the writer or book.

"Let us proceed at once to business. What is the use of delay when we agreed to take that up the first thing?" ~The Society for the Suppression of Gossip (hilarious Victorian play, that)

ANY-whoo, to answer the question, I am afraid I must again choose two authors, and one of those authors will be making his second appearance in this 15-day challenge:

1. Louisa May Alcott- I have always felt a deep connection with this author's novels. You see, being the eldest sister in a chunk of four girls right in the middle of our big family, I felt much like Meg with Jo, Beth, and Amy to look after. Even our personalities match up to the March girls! So it was only natural that my life would be rather Little Women-ish, and it will not surprise you to hear that we started our own literary society when my fellow members were 9, 6, and 4 respectively. *Harumph* (Needless to say, talent was limited. :P)
Louisa May Alcott novels are sweet and innocent, and I feel each time I put one down that I walk away a better girl for it. Morals and wisdom are entwined so effortlessly in the windings of the story that one doesn't know one has learned anything, and yet the day is colored by noble ideals afterward.
I did not realize her writing had truly influenced mine until I'd had...oh...probably near a dozen people tell me that my books remind them so much of Louisa May Alcott's. Someone said that The Seasonings had the flavor of Eight Cousins about it. :)

2. Charles Dickens. I know, I know you must be sick to death of hearing about him. You must think I never read anything else. But I had to bring him in, because I have come to realize that he has influenced me in the forming of my characters. I am continually delighted with the ream of people I find in the pages of his novels. They are so queer and quaint and unusual. He can concoct the most interesting mash of qualities into a larger-than-life personality that one remembers forever. In Puddleby Lane, particularly, one character is fashioned on purpose in the Dickensian style. :)

It did not take as long as Cora expected to get to town. Perhaps it was the cheerful conversation of Ann Company, or the novelty of walking like a caravan of gypsies down a sandy road, that made the two miles seem like a hundred yards, but Cora did not feel at all fatigued when they finally reached the train station.

Piper’s Corner was not so bleak after all. Cora tilted her head at the station. Still windswept, and the row of wax myrtles weren’t the most robust bushes she’d ever encountered, but there was a certain charm even in the loneliness.

“Hey, Pa!” Ann Company’s shout startled Cora, and she turned to find Tucker and Dot sitting on the edge of the platform.

“Don’t sit so near the edge, Tuck. What if a train came along?”

“Shoot, Miz Cora! There’s only the nine-fifteen, the one-thirty, and the five-forty-five that comes through here this time a’year. Tucker could sit there another three hours an’ he’d be no worse’n me fer it.”

“Can I, Cora?” Tucker hammered the side of the platform with the heels of his shoes.

“Certainly not.”

A heavy hand descended on Cora’s shoulder. “Well what’ve we got here? A pack of young’uns?”

Cora turned to find Flounder’s red face crinkled up in what she supposed to be a grin. “Good morning, Flounder.”

“Good mornin’ to you.” He withdrew his hand and stuck his thumbs through his suspenders. The sleeves of his shirt were still rolled up. And was it the same shirt? If not, surely the ink-stains on the cuffs had been duplicated with a careful eye to authenticity.

Ann Company adjusted Flounder’s collar and brushed crumbs from the front of his shirt. “I’m fixin’ t’give these kids a tour a’Piper’s Corner.”

Flounder patted Ann Company’s curly hair as if she was a favorite puppy of his and cast his wall-eye at Cora, Tucker, and Dot. “A splendid idear. I splendid idear. Didn’t I say this mornin’, Ann Company, it’d be a splendid idear?”

“I b’lieve you did, Pa. That’s what put it in m’head in th’ first place.”

Flounder shook his head like a ponderous bull-dog. “Splendid idears sometimes do come to me, you know. Though some might doubt it.”

“Course idears come t’you.” Ann Company, who had been putting her father in shape with many a tender push, pull, and shove the whole time, stepped back and grabbed Tucker’s hand. “I guess we’ll be goin’ now, Pa.”

“Yes, yes. And don’t forget to show your friends Adolphus.”

“I won’t, Pa.” Ann Company nodded to Cora and led the way across the tracks, leaving Eulalie near the railroad office.

See? :) Flounder is turning out to be a rather fussy but good-hearted man. He whines. Rather a Mr. Dorrit, if you will, minus the debtor's prison. I admit Dickens has influenced this character heavily, but that's okay. Since I did it on purpose, it doesn't count as copying. ;)


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Anonymous said...

I knew, I knew it'd be these two. Alcott and Dickens. ^.^ Your writing sings of these two. One can tell you are a devout reader of each just by reading your work.

Huzzah. ^.^