Monday, August 22, 2011

Sparkfest: Ted Dekker Exaltations, Continued.

To my usual readers, if you were looking for my next post in the Character’s Class Schedule series, I’m afraid that won’t be coming for another few days. Consider this recess, as I answer a couple of questions. It’s all a part of the Spark Blogfest, which you can find here.

“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


  1. C.S. Lewis is also a favorite of mine. I've never heard of Dekker. Thanks for the tip, I love masterful plot schemers :)

  2. Neat post! I'll have to check out a Dekker book! Sounds very interesting.

    The Write Soil

  3. I'll have to check out Dekker's books. It's great that he inspired you so much.

  4. I'd have to say what got me wanting to write was the Babysitters club series.

    I also started my own club with my friend. I was so inspired by them!

    As for inspirational writing, I really enjoyed Dean Koontz until recent years. He used to be amazing, not his stories are just . . . old. They've been done - by him - and more than once.

    Still love these posts :D

  5. Great Sparkfest post. I'd never heard of Dekker before either, so thanks for the recommendation. :-D Your description of how he interweaves connections and language games throughout his works reminded me of what Stephen King does with The Dark Tower series (and actually almost everything he's ever written, once you start looking for the links).

  6. Thanks, guys. ^^ Like I said, his style can be... interesting. Especially with his newer books. XD But he's still pretty awesome.

    @Tanya: Me and my sister started a club too. XD Just... Never did any actual babysitting. XD

    @Jillian: Ah, really? ^^ I haven't read much by Stephen King, to be honest. A few books here and there. I think I'm kind of intimidated by the fact that his books take up like a whole block of shelves at my school library. XD Plus, I have so much to read already...

    I do want to read 'On Writing', though. :) I've heard a lot of people recommend it. However, I don't think that one's going to interweave as much as others. XD

  7. I've been a writer every since I was a little kid, too. I loved reading so much that I couldn't get enough. Writing my own stories gave me more! But I didn't start taking my writing seriously until college. So I think it's wonderful you're serious about your writing already and have started a blog while still in high school. Keep it up and good luck!

  8. Ted Dekker is amazing! His books always inspire me to go write something.

  9. I LOVE schemey books! I've never heard of Ted Dekker but he sounds amazing! I always liked how Tamora Pierce would sneak characters in from series to series, but it sounds like Ted has it down to an art. Thanks for sharing!

  10. I love Ted Dekker! I've noticed SO Many things from all his Books of History (The Circle, the Lost Books, the Pardise Novels, Immanuel's Veins and a few extra thrillers thrown in like Skin, House). I'm so excited to find someone else who is as excited about his books as me! (Some of my friends think I'm crazyyy. He truly is inspiration! Genius!