I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently. Most writers I’ve met have a list of authors who inspired them that is usually pretty impressive. Either of big names in their genres or just well-read names. Sometimes I wonder if the lists that I see from time to time aren’t slightly crafted to be more what should be said to seem like a *deep breath* serious writer.
I’m not meaning these lists are made up. I’m sure that this person over here has read and loved a lot of the heavy and older literature classics. That doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy other things too like reality TV and reading newspapers or playing video games.
But I just wonder how many people give actual credit for these things as sources of inspiration? (More than just for one story.)
My list of inspiration doesn’t just include author names though there are a couple. What inspires me? H. G. Wells and Isaac Asimov and Chris Claremont’s X-men space opera stories (mostly in the early 80’s when I could stand to look at John Romata’s Jr.s art and actually liked it). Stories in old Atari manuals (all the old games did have stories) and the newer modern video game movies/stories like Grand Theft Auto 4. Manga like Lupin III and Azumanga Daioh. Anime like Noir and Soranowoto. (Watch the last one for free here.) Even an audio program like We’re Alive- The Zombie Podcast holds secrets in story telling.
I have a feeling that I’m saying something super obvious. But I don’t see credit often given enough to these stories that pass through our lives. Too often, people write off a lot of stuff as not being serious or heavy because it’s a cartoon or a comic book or a video game. But each medium has a different lesson in story telling that is equally important. The audio program shows the importance of dialog. Many anime programs mix fables with futuristic visions and an interesting world view. Comic books, graphic novels, and manga all have an important lesson to teach as well about visuals and the importance of seeing a scene rather than being told about a scene. And video games combine lessons in dialog and visuals with lessons about participation.
Each medium comes with different expectations and different ways of catching attention. And I honestly believe that there are things to be learned and applied to stories that are being written. Not directly, but there are ideas hidden in these gems if we look closer and don’t dismiss them as just kid’s stuff. (Or just stuff for the geeks.)
For another take on this (and possibly even better put) here’s another post with a similar idea.