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:~: Friday, March 03, 2006 :~:

The Literary Bubble

Recently seen written on the board in my classroom:

Someone should have killed Shakespeare before he had a chance to write anything . . . or hung him by his toes and beaten him brutally.

(I chose not to comment on the fact that people are hanged and pictures are hung and that the graffiti artist had spelled brutally wrong.)

In case you're wondering, I'm in the middle of teaching Julius Caesar. Not my favorite of the Bard's works, but something my sophomores usually enjoy. I mean, come on, what's not to like? Intrigue, killer internal conflict, a murder plot, a sprinkling of the supernatural, strong characters . . .

Sounds like the elements of a blockbuster movie or a fantastic suspense, doesn't it?

One of my CP's teasingly and affectionately accuses me of living in a "literary bubble," probably because for the two years she's known me, I've been immersed not only in my own writing, but in teaching two new preps. That means instead of losing myself in the newest romantic suspense novels, I was exploring thousands of years of world literature and the four hundred years or so of American literature.

Now, we all know reading makes one a better writer. Reading in your genre is imperative. However, if you share the sentiments of my wayward student and think the writers of the past have nothing to offer the writers of today, I'd like to take my next few posts here to change your mind. Here's a sampling of what I'm planning:

How to Make Poe's "Unity of Effect" Work for You
Lessons from Shakespeare -- Plotting, Pacing and Puns
Arthur Miller's The Crucible -- Dialogue and Subtext
Syntax and Science Fiction Guru Ray Bradbury

I've been examining my own writing for evidence of my literary influences (and they're not all "bubble" influences, I assure you -- many are contemporary authors). What authors have had the greatest influence on your writing?


Blogger Paty Jager said...

Wow- I wish I could say some pulitzer prize author, but alas, those who have had the most influence in my writing are: LaVyrle Spencer, Nora Roberts, and Laura Ingalls Wilder.

LaVyrle showed me I can write interesting history with romance and human foibles. Nora, I read for the powerful characters and emotional love scenes, and Laura Ingalls- the simplicity of a loving family and that hardships can be faced and lessons learned.

7:50 AM  
Blogger Linda Winfree said...

Oh, I *love* LaVyrle Spencer. That woman knows how to torture a character!

I inhaled all of the Wilder books, too. Wonderful stories!

5:37 AM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

I don't know. (How's that for an answer?) I know there are certain books that have influenced me, but I can't say *all* of an author's work resonates with me.

The ones I can think of off the top of my head are:

Margaret Mitchell's Gone With The Wind
C.S. Lewis's Narnia Series
L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables Series
John Jakes's North and South
Tolkein's Lord of The Rings (even before it was a major movie)

What's funny is aside from Narnia, the rest of my books all have some kind of romance in them.

6:38 PM  

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