It’s The Story Stoopid! Or Is It?

There are three writers I particularly admire and who have influenced my own writing.

The first is James Patterson. I really like his take. The way he presents his material. The catchy titles with their promise of excitement. The artwork on the covers. I like the no-nonsense way his novels cut to the chase too. I love the leanness of it all. Pure story-telling. That (in the words of Jeffery Archer) is a God-given talent. Not that this talent will win him many awards. If there is one thing the right-on literary set dislike more than wild success, its seat-of-the-pants page-turners.

Same with Lee Child. I love this bloke! An Englishman abroad. The Reacher character is just perfect. I love the narrative. It beats like a drum. I’m hypnotized by the rythmn of it. Have you listened to him on audio-books? Dick Hill’s interpretation is genius.

There’s awards given in the UK at this time of year. OBE’s, CBE’s and the like. An author received one today. A lady. A very nice lady I’m sure. A great author too no doubt, but I’d not heard of her. I’ve heard of Lee Child though. He’s sold 60 million books. He keeps on with Reacher. One a year. Relentless discipline. Always striving for outstanding. Why don’t they give him a gong? If I were in charge, I surely would.

The last one is Dan Brown. He came out of nowhere with TDC. A lottery win. I was aware of him before then I should add. Not long before – I read Angels and Demons a year or two before TDC broke. But it was the story that got me. The speed of it. The cleverness of it and all against a Roman background. I was caught up in the possibility of it all. It was Dan Brown in general and Angels and Demons in particular that inspired me to start writing again.


So those are the three. I’ve tried to find similarities between them. A thread that connects them together. Its difficult. Is it the story that I love the most? Is it the characters that populate the stories or is it the place? Which is most important?


What about you? Who are your three?


Do you go for the story first-and-foremost, or are you into the characters? What about setting?


Tell me. I’d love to know.


One thought on “It’s The Story Stoopid! Or Is It?

  1. An author owning up to appreciating Dan Brown deserves some kudos (probably).
    My three?

    Well, having recently re-discovered a love of historical fiction, my first would have to be Sharon Penman – the undisputed Queen of historical fiction. I’ve tried reading other people in the same genre, but after soaking up Sharon, the others feel like I’m reading the novelistic stylings of a 5 year-old. Her writing is so much more evolved and intelligent. She isn’t just writing a soapy romance set in a castle. She invests sometimes mythical, one-dimensional characters from our history with real-life personalities. Eleanor of Aquitaine was not simply an extremely intelligent, hotheaded woman at a time when officially, female intellect did not even exist; she was also a mother, and she played favourites. When you read Sharon, you understand the dichotomies present within all her characters. She brings the times to life. You can sense the fear in the nobleman’s heart as he travels by road – a very dangerous place to be in 12th Century England. You can smell the smoke from a torched town on the breeze. King Henry’s horse becomes muddied, bloodied and lame. It does not somehow glide above the action, delivering its superhuman master to his destination in pristine shape and with a minimum of effort.

    Sharon Penman makes it all very real. Her new one “Lionheart” is released in April, and I cannot wait.

    Apart from her, I do enjoy the classics. A bit of Bronte, Milton, Stoker. I like dark brooding landscapes, physical and mental. Oh, I must also admit to surreptitiously leafing through pseudo-science easy-reads every now and again. Chariots of the Gods by Erich Von Daniken probably turned me on to all that nonsense, many moons ago.

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