“What book made you realize you were doomed to be a writer?
What author set off that spark of inspiration for your current Work in Progress?
Or, Is there a book or author that changed your world view?”
I am seventeen. I started writing when I was… eight? Something like that. When you consider my life in terms of percentages, I have been writing a very long time. As a writer, I assume that you can assume I read quite a bit, which is what makes answering questions like these so difficult. Lots of books and authors scramble up to the front of my mind.
The Magic Tree House series must’ve been among my first influences; my first ‘books’ totally ripped it off, after all. Then there was Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia, introduced by my mother’s voice at bedtime even as the books themselves introduced me to fantasy. When I was older, Tamora Pierce and Scott Westerfeld taught me about creating worlds real enough to step into in my dreams.
But if there’s one author who I know, without a doubt, has influenced my life as a writer, it would have to be Ted Dekker. Changed my world view? Yup. Set off sparks of inspiration? On more than one occasion, yes. Made me realize I was doomed to be a writer? Indubitably.
I’m not sure how old I was when I read the Circle
trilogy series (there are four books, now). And I’m not sure how old I was when I read one of his other books and first started to piece things together…
But the first time I noticed the connections between characters, and plot points, and seemingly random lines in the narrative, I’m pretty sure my reaction was something like this:
O.O He can DO that?!
Yes, boys and girls. He can do that.
Ted Dekker has a very interesting style – one that I think you either love or you hate – but I have yet to find an author that can weave together plots, characters, and worlds as masterfully as he can. It goes beyond incorporating something from the first page into the final climax. It involves incorporating information from the first page of a book in another series and twisting things together so subtly that you’d have to read all his books in one sitting to catch all the connections. Even then you might miss something.
I’d never seen a writer do that before, and I haven’t seen a writer do it like that since. Ted is one of the few writers that can still surprise me at every turn, and make me jump up and down squealing every time I catch something new.
To give you a sense of what I’m talking about, allow me to tell you the names of three of his villains. Marsuvees Black, from one of his trilogies, Sterling Red from a stand-alone book, and Barsidious White from another stand-alone book that he co-wrote with another author.
And what were the titles of the books in the original Circle trilogy?
Black. Red. And White.
Are you beginning to see what I’m talking about here?
I think Ted Dekker’s writing, and his masterful way of interconnecting things, is part of what made me develop into the extensive schemer I am today. I may not outline, but within two weeks of starting a novel I have the general plans for a four book series, right down to scraps of dialogue and future scenes. I’ve had people say that my style of writing reminds them of Ted’s, even before they knew I was a fan. In the middle of writing my own books, I’ve made plot connections that give me those same jumping-up-and-down feelings that I get when I read a good Dekker book.
Ted Dekker set off the sparks that turned me into a schemer. And since 84% of my writing process involves scheming… Well. I feel like I owe him a lot for opening my mind up to the possibilities of intertwining things. ^^
Plus, the man can write a great serial killer story. :)P.S. To my usual readers, you probably already knew how I felt about Ted after this post. XD