Writing Corner: On My Writing Inspirations and How They Have Changed Over The Years

Hi everyone! I know it’s been a while, my first post of these was kind of just to test the waters and see whether it would be worth continuing this series. This year however, I’m hoping to expand this feature even more, to have an outlet to talk about my own writing and also hopefully share writing and writing stories from other writers in the community.

Today’s topic is inspired by a conversation I had on Twitter. I was talking to someone about my favourite books and one of the examples I gave was A Darker Shade of Magic, and I said that when I was younger, my writing inspiration was JK Rowling but right now I said my writing inspiration was VE Schwab. This got me thinking about how I’ve changed as a writer and how my inspirations have changed as I’ve grown up and become more serious and dedicated to my authorial pursuits.

The writing bug was first ignited in me when I read Harry Potter for the first time as a kid. I was so enthralled by the magic and the sense of wonder I got from reading those books and I was determined that when I was older, I was going to be exactly like JK Rowling. I mean we even had the same first name, to my young brain, it seemed perfectly natural that one day I could be like the woman who wrote these stories that I loved so much.

Now obviously, my expectations have grown more realistic as I’ve got older. I know, that realistically, I’m highly unlikely to sell a story that becomes a global and cultural phenomenon. But that initial desire, to write a story that captivates people, that touches people and gives them a sense of wonder and hope and inspiration, that hasn’t gone away.

But the kind of story that is has changed a lot over the years. I’ve tried my hand at writing a lot of different things, zany playscripts, a Cluedo style murder mystery, a Thirteen Reasons Why type contemporary, a secret agent type story involving bears as spies, all sorts of things. However I actually wrote very little, if any fantasy to start off with, despite that being the genre that I loved the most from a very young age. It’s only really in the last few years that I’ve started writing my own fantasies and I think the reason is the authors I’ve been reading. When I was younger, I only really had Harry Potter as a fantasy inspiration, but there have been so many amazing fantasies brought out as I’ve been growing up and I’ve had such a wealth of amazing writers to choose from and so what I’ve written has changed to reflect that.

In terms of writing style, I would say my biggest inspirations are Derek Landy and Rick Riordan, which is unsurprising, considering those two writers series’ were my biggest obsessions during my teen years, it stands to reason that when writing YA, the writers I was obsessed with in my teens have really influenced me. The snappy dialogue and the sarcastic humour were massive draws for me, but also the fact that their writing is fun and engaging and it has a really strong voice, and that’s always been the sort of thing that I love. So naturally, I have tried to incorporate that into my own writing (in my own way of course), because I want to write the things that I love to read. I could try being more descriptive, more flowery, but that’s never been me, and I don’t think it will ever be my characters either. In terms of my books, I want all of them to have some sense of me in them, that only I could have written them and that’s something I’ve got from my favourite authors I think, that no matter what they write, there’s an underlying sense of their personality, their soul, in each of their books.

Victoria Schwab is probably one of my biggest writing inspirations right now, I love how inventive and creative she is, how no two of her books are the same, but like I said above, you can tell they were all written by her because there is this underlying sense of her personality running through all of her books. I was actually talking to a friend, explaining Underground Magicians (having recently told her about the Shades of Magic books) and she was like “oh that sounds like those books you were telling me about!”, which was totally unintentional, but I think it just goes to show how much she has influenced me and my writing. Lila Bard was definitely a huge inspiration for Tiffany in TINALS, not so much Sophie in Underground Magicians, but one of the things I’ve definitely taken from Victoria’s writing is how to write an awesome female MC. The elemental magic system in TINALS was partially inspired by the magic in ADSOM, but also from Skulduggery Pleasant, and various other books that have used that kind of magic. However, much like with JK Rowling, it isn’t necessarily aspects of her writing that have inspired me the most, it’s the feeling that I get from reading her work. Her fantasies are these amazing, totally immersive adventures, and I want my readers to feel like that if I ever actually get a book out into the world. Like they just want to sit there and dive into this world and not come out again until the story is over. I also love how honest Victoria Schwab is about her writing and the difficulties she has with it, it makes me feel a whole lot better on days when I want to bang my head against a wall because a plot point just won’t work!

One of my inspirations for Underground Magicians is one that I didn’t even realise until today, Sophie McKenzie’s The Medusa Project. One of the coolest things about that book (though it’s not a fantasy as such), is that all of the characters have very different psychic powers and it’s something I’ve taken into Underground Magicians, as all of the characters have very different magic powers and it’s not based on one specific system, like the elements in TINALS. I also think the relatively fast pace of my writing is something that I got from reading a lot of Sophie McKenzie when I was younger, she always wrote really snappy, sharp, engaging plots and that’s something that I hope comes across in my work as well!

Sarah J Maas has also been a massive inspiration for me in recent years. You can say whatever you like about the problematic elements to her books, and there are many, I’m not saying I aspire to those, but she has been writing since she was a teen and managed to get a story that she wrote in its first iteration at 16 published, and that to me, as a young writer is really inspiring. Celaena was also definitely a huge influence in the character of Tiffany in TINALS, I loved seeing a character who wasn’t necessarily always the most likeable, but she was determined and feisty and went after what she wanted and has a bit of a flair for the dramatic! She also writes really great female friendships and that’s something that is massively important to me in my own books.

Everything I’ve read has in some way contributed to the writer I am today, but there are certain authors, like the ones I’ve mentioned in this post today, who have a special place in my heart, whose writing I have connected with on such a deep level that you can see their influences in what I write myself. My ideal is that one day, what I write will be published and I’ll be able to influence a younger generation of writers in the same way that these authors have influenced me!

So over to you? What authors have influenced your writing? Have your writing inspirations changed as you’ve grown up? Let me know in the comments!

I don’t know when I’ll next be doing one of these, I’m hoping for maybe once a month, but it will depend on when I have time to sit down and write! I’m really hoping to get other writers to contribute to this feature, so if you’re a writer and you’re interested in being featured on my blog, then holler at me on Twitter, I’m @iloveheartlandX. I have a few people who’ve already noted interested and no, I haven’t forgotten about you, I’ve just been busy!

My next new post will be my newest TTT on Tuesday, but I will also have a very special post next week celebrating four years of blogging (FOUR! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?), so stay tuned for that!




Make Me Read It Read-a-thon Introduction Post

First off, I would like to apologize for the tardiness of my weekend memes, I’ve kind of been a little behind on all things blogging related this week, so I’m hoping to do a big sweep of my Saturday, Sunday and Monday memes tomorrow so that by Tuesday, I will be back on my regular schedule! Second of all I would like to announce that I’m going to be taking part in the Make Me Read It Read-a-thon. This is a Read-a-thon created by Val @ The Innocent Smiley and Ely @ A Book So Fathomless. Basically the idea of this read-a-thon is that you pick out books from your shelf (or e-reader if you are that way inclined), and choose however many you want (more than you know you will be able to read in a week). You then put up a post (like this one) and then get other bloggers, friends, anyone who reads your post, to vote on what you have to read during the week. The Read-a-thon is from 8am on the 20th July to 12am on the 27th July.

I’m going to give you several options for how you vote for what you want me to read:

-You can leave your choices in a comment on this post

-You can DM me through my twitter account (my twitter handle is @iloveheartlandX)

-You can use the read-a-thon hashtag #MakeMeRead and then add the name of the book or books you want me to read (make sure you include my twitter handle in your tweet though, or else I won’t see it).

On to the books you can choose from, I have eight books on this list and I’m allowing you four choices each. The four most popular books will be the books that I will read (although I’m not guaranteeing I will read all four). Please only vote once each (as in only vote for your four choices once and not several times) as it will be much easier for me to keep track of that way. Anyway, I’m rambling now, here are your choices:

IMG_0160 IMG_0161IMG_0163IMG_0164IMG_0165IMG_0166IMG_0167IMG_0168In case any of the pictures are a little blurry, I’ll do a list of the titles as well:

1. A Court of Thorns and Roses

2. Ink and Bone

3. Red Queen

4. The Knife of Never Letting Go

5. Before I Fall

6. Look Who’s Back

7. Code Name Verity

8. Allegiant

So vote for whichever four of those you want, in whichever way you want, whether it be comment, DM on twitter or #MakeMeRead followed by the book (or books) that you want. I reserve the right to switch to another book if I find myself getting stuck during the read-a-thon, after all the point of this is to read as many books as possible right? For those of you wondering why Before I Fall is on there as it was supposed to be my current read, I got a little bored and had to switch to something else, but I am willing to try again. Anyway, have fun and choose some great books for me, please!

Armchair BEA: Social Media

So on this, day two of ABEA, we’re talking social media. Or at least I am anyway! I have had various forms of social media for a while, but I didn’t really use them for anything much than the usual thing, talking to friends on Facebook, following celebrites on Twitter and reblogging things I liked on Tumblr. I actually started posting my book reviews on Tumblr, and then one day decided that I wanted to try my hand about having a proper blog, so I found out that you could start one on wordpress, set up my blog and transferred all the posts I’d done on Tumblr over to here. So essentially this blog was kind of born out of social media, which is pretty cool.

Now that I’ve had my blog for a while, my blog is kind of my primary source of media, I guess, but I still use all the other stuff. I’ve found it incredibly helpful to publicise my blog through every social media outlet I have, which basically consists of Facebook, Twitter & Tumblr, because if I didn’t have them, there would be no way this blog would reach as many people as it had. I honestly wasn’t expecting many people to ever read my blog, I thought I would only get a couple of views if that, so to be in my second year and have had so many people look at my blog over the year and a bit I’ve been doing it feels incredible. I guess that’s the power of social media for you! I haven’t tried the whole vlogging thing on YouTube because being in front of a camera is not natural to me, and I really started my blog so I could write, not talk! I obviously follow a number of authors on Twitter and would like to follow more bloggers, in order to connect to this wonderful community more. I feel like Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr have really helped me get my blog out there and I’m very grateful for that.

If you want to follow me on my social media (I won’t give out my Facebook as I only friend people who I actually know in real life) then you can find me at:

Twitter: @iloveheartlandX

Tumblr: iloveheartlandx

I’m pretty simple, I’m IloveheartlandX or some variation of that everywhere! Leave your social media links in the comments and I’ll follow you!