We’ve all got favorites.
Favorite shows, favorite foods, favorite books
actually we cant make up our minds on that last one. But we can more or less agree on what makes a great writer. It takes a person with an eye for characters, themes, prose, and passion to write well.
While a lot of aspiring writers already have those qualities, some are more advanced than others. And that’s perfectly okay! Those of us earlier in our journeys have a bounty of writers that have come before us to admire and learn from.
Like many others, I have a group of authors who have been writing inspirations, be it through actual writing characteristics or simply encouragement they’ve given me. Unfortunately, I can’t thank each and every one of these writers — some are millionaires and some are, well, dead — but their work is well-loved by me and others.
Sooo, let’s count down my top 10 writing role models!
rachel joy scott — intimacy
One of my biggest role models is Rachel Joy Scott, a 17-year-old victim of the 1999 Columbine school shooting. When I was in middle school, I received a book about her parents’ narratives of the tragedy and its aftereffects. Her story is touching, but what really caught my heart was her journaling.
Rachel was a big writer, and she would carry around journals with letters written to God and herself. Maybe the letters weren’t works of art, but the sheer honesty and intimacy she poured into those words shattered me. If you haven’t, please please please take time to read some snippets from her diaries. I hope one day I can barely scratch the surface of that sincerity in my writing.
ellen raskin — mystery factor
i talk about this book waaay too much hah The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin is such an amazing example of how to defy expected outcomes and manipulate readers into assuming before they see all the evidence, much like the Harry Potter series. This book catches a reader’s attention, lures them in with misleading clues and WHAMMO PLOT TWIST HAH!!!
I don’t write mysteries myself (my brain is the size of a double bubble gum 🙃) but mystery is one of the MOST important elements to think about in any genre. We don’t want our stories to be predictable, do we? NAH. I’d rather watch the Paint Drying Network. Which is why I like to read and learn from authors as unpredictable as Mrs. Raskin. It mixes things up! Makes them interesting! Story diversity!! Yay!!!
Also, she has a book titled The Tatooed Potato and I’ve never been so intrigued in my life.
joan bauer — wordsmithing
It’s not surprising that Joan Bauer serves as my main influence in writing. I absolutely adore her work. Specifically, her wordsmithing and sentence structure. Her sentences are often very staccato, sharp and clean. Dialogue takes center stage and subtle body language stands close by.
This type of writing works well with dystopian and contemporary books — my favorite genres of all time! I write in this same style so much. It’s easy to replicate and even easier to adapt to your own voice.
annie cate anderson — passion
ITS MY GIRL ANNIE CATE. Annie is one of my best friends in the entire universe and I’m unbelievably proud to say it. I have the honor of alpha reading her nonfiction book for fifth-grade and middle school students and asdfgh I needed this book in middle school. I’m learning about how to get through middle school… as a high schooler. Enlightening!
What gets me the most about Annie’s writing is her passion. Just read one of her blog posts and you can see how much love she puts into everything she does. You can feel the excitement through her words!! HOW FLIPPIN’ COOL IS THAT?! And imagine that same excitement in fiction. My word, that would be an amazing book. I wish I could write with the fervor she does.
christi j whitney — character interaction
I’ve known Christi Whitney for most of my life, so when she published her own book series, I was beyond excited. I fell in love with the world of the Romany Outcasts and, more importantly, Sabastian.
But what’s better than Sabastian? SABASTIAN AND JOSEPHINE THATS WHAT. And Sebastian and Hugo, and Hugo and Josephine, and every single character interaction in the series. Everybody plays off each other so well how does she do it!!?? I have no idea, but it’s fun to attempt to replicate. btw read this series you won’t regret it 10/10
brett harris & jaquelle crowe — motivation
Brett and Jaquelle were my mentors through their Young Writers Workshop, and by golly do they know how to inspire. You might know them from their respective books, Do Hard Things and This Changes Everything. After finishing either of these books, you want to climb a mountain. Charge a kingdom. Take on that TBR list that never seems to go away help please.
Writing like that makes me genuinely giddy with excitement. It’s incredible to think about — there’s power in words. You can change someone’s life through 26 randomly arranged characters and a few punctuation marks; all you need is the right wording and an encouraging attitude. Out of everything on this list, this might be the attribute I strive for the most.
k a emmons — prose
The Blood Race had been on my TBR forever, but after I read it? There was no turning back! I had to find the girl behind this masterpiece. It was, of course, the lovely Katie Emmons.
And then I discovered… not only is every sentence of her book a stanza, but her entire blog screams poetry along with it. I’ve never in my life seen someone write with the same eloquence and it leaves me with my mouth hanging open. Katie is definitely someone to admire as a writer and a blogger.
charis rae — theme
You might know Charis here on the blogosphere for her amazing blog, but if you haven’t read her writing, YOU’RE MISSING OUT MAN! I had the opportunity to be an alpha reader for her novel The Running and it was phenomenal, obviously.
My favorite part about her book besides brenna aka my love was her theming! I remember finishing the story and thinking, “huh, i didn’t see this coming, but somehow i feel like i should have.” It’s because of the subtle theme that easily weaves the book’s events together. I aspire to be like her in a lot of ways, but her theming really takes the cake.
dan & kevin hageman — characterization
The Hageman brothers are the main writers for Ninjago. They’re the dudes behind The Best Ship In The Universe™, Jaya. So, obviously, they’re geniuses. Just look at these kids.
*deep breath in* Dreams coming true.
In all seriousness, one of the reasons (if not the main reason) why Ninjago is still popular after almost eight years is the stellar characters. Everybody has their own personality. Everybody has their own fears that hold them back from what they need.
suzanne collins — story
I don’t talk about it a lot, but I actually really love the Hunger Games. It’s semi-common knowledge that I hate Peeta Malark and I’m on Team Katniss Should Never Have Been Involved In A Triangle. But the story, especially the first book’s plot, is one I like to use as a reference in my own works.
It’s a simple story, but at the same time addicting to think about, which I think is something to admire. The story’s initiating incident sets a chain reaction that results in character development, worldbuilding, and story arc. Which kills three birds with one stone and renders me speechless in the process.
There’s my list! *enthusiastic jazz hands* It was actually hard to narrow down the list to fit just 10 authors. And then I can’t pick which one has influenced me the most… hm. This post makes me want to reread all the books I mentioned.
Now tell me about your role models! Who has influenced your writing style? Does your list look anything like mine? What influential writers am I missing? Do you know any of them personally? Comment below, dear!