Books that make you want to write

I’m reading The Hunger Games series at the moment, and really enjoying it, in the kind of way that makes me want to get writing myself. I’ve found that some books stir up this feeling in me, and others don’t – I’m yet to define what exactly it is about a book that makes me want to write though, so thought I would blog it out.

For me, there are a couple of different ways that a book can inspire me to get back to work – funnily, it isn’t just when a book is great though, because I’ll be totally honest and say that sometimes I read amazing books that make me think I should just give it up. I feel intimidated by just how awesome they are, like there is no way on earth that I could write something that could ever be that wonderful.

Anyways, below are some things about a novel that make me want to write:

a) it’s so bad that I know I can do better (not the case at all for The Hunger Games, by the way).

b) the writing is beautiful, inspiring, a sensory feast which sweeps me away from reality (an example of this, I think, would be All The Windwracked Stars by Elizabeth Bear).

c) the world building is fantastic and makes me want to work all the angles, to bring my worlds to life – to create a setting which is rich and vibrant and resonates (all while not being wordy and weighed down with over the top descriptions).

d) the characters speak to me on multiple levels.

I think The Hunger Games fits the last two categories for me. The narrator seems so very real, so solid in her world, so accurately portrayed – she sounds like a sixteen year old girl who has grown up in the world described. She isn’t perfect by any means, in fact she is self centered, totally focused on doing whatever it takes to survive – fitting for both the character, her back story and the world it’s set in. It’s this sense of realness, the immediacy of the story which makes it come to life for me.

And I want to bring that to my stories. I want them to be vital, and alive. I want to pull my readers into my characters worlds, immerse them in my creations.

Funnily, these thoughts do not seem to apply to TNFKAMN aka ‘The Novella Formerly Known as Mocha Nihilism’. I mean, I can make it vital and alive, but not in the same way as I find fantasy/sci fi. It’s not so life and death. It doesn’t deal with big questions. It’s admittedly more light hearted, more amusing than anything else I have written (well, at least, I think so). And there is nothing wrong with that at all – it’s one of the very many things I love about it.

But reading The Hunger Games makes me want to dive into something epic. It makes me want to write something that cuts to the bone, that breathes and feels and bleeds.

I am starting to seriously think about my next novel. Which is an exciting feeling.

But first, I really want to finish this novella.

What about you? What books make you want to write, and why?

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14 thoughts on “Books that make you want to write

  1. The Hunger Games did that for me too 😀 I’m really pleased you said the thing about bad novels, I feel the same, LOL. I often find those more inspiring than the truly great ones.

    I think the one book that really inspired me lately, that had me wriggling in my seat as I read it because it just made me want to write and even more than that, BE a writer, was The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith. That book, wow. It’s controversial, strange in places, not necessarily the most satisfying of endings, but I absolutely wish I’d written it.

    1. Oh, I’ll have to check it out! Sounds like an interesting read 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Wen! I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels like this 😉

      1. It is a fantastic read 🙂 Not everyone loves it, but I sure did. It’s very dark, very freaky, but you can’t stop reading either. Or at least, I couldn’t!

  2. I’ve read books like that! Oddly, the Hunger Games was one of them. Probably for similar reasons. Lois Bujold is another author whose books have that effect on me.

    1. Hi Sonia! thanks for commenting 🙂 It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who got that reaction to The Hunger Games. I haven’t read any Lois Bujold yet, but have some books around here somewhere – will make sure I start one in the near future!

  3. Oh my! There’s SO many, like Hunger Games, Ship Breaker, Dune, The Thirteenth Tale, Earth’s Children (The series that includes Clan of the Cave Bear)…usually, whatever book I’m reading usually encourages me to write for one reason or the other, usually because I want to emulate that style, but sometimes, the holycowthisisSObadIcanwriteabetterbookthanthis sentiment also pushes me to write. (Don’t worry, I won’t share those holy horrible books here 🙂 )

    Last year, I discovered The Forest of Hands and Teeth (and its sequel, Dead Tossed Waves) while writing a WIP in sort of the same vein (not in a zombie way, but a post-apocalyptic way). After a while (i.e., while writing WIP1, previously referred to as Hot Mess), I can appreciate it better in terms of encouraging me to write, but at the time, it actually intimidated me more than inspired me, and I ended up abandoning that WIP. It captured the voice/style/tone that I wanted in the (unfinished) WIP, and I was in awe of how much Carrie Ryan pushed her characters, pushed them to survive, to overcome, to live. It showed me the level of work and intensity that I had to pour into the WIP to get into that mindset of survival/desolation, which of course made me realize that I was ill-equipped to write that WIP. (Heck, I feel ill-equipped to write WIP1!) I’d like to believe that I will revisit that unfinished WIP, but it will probably only show itself in bits and pieces in future WIPs.
    I hope that makes sense! I can’t wait to read the last novel in the series: Dark and Hollow Places.

    1. Oh, I had heard of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, good to hear from someone I know that it was good. I will have to check it out now that you’ve raved about it a little 😉
      Oh and yes, it DID make sense!

  4. Loved this post, Cassie! Like others here (and many others, period), The Hunger Games totally inspired me, too. It was one of those trilogies that rocked not only my writing world, but the way I viewed everyday life. And, of course, the initial series that made me want to write was Harry Potter. I loved the world-building, the huge cast, the charm of it all, the intense villain(s), the themes, the character development, and, simply, the story itself. It made me want to write something well-executed and complex.

    1. I am sure that you will write many wonderfully executed and complex stories, Kayla! I know I was late to reading The Hunger Games, but it’s really cool to be in the ‘this rocked my world’ boat with so many others 🙂

  5. Oh yeah, I had the same feeling after I read The Hunger Games! A very strong feeling of wishing I could write a story like that. The writing, the world building, even the characters are all wonderful and interesting.

    1. They were, N.M. Or are, I should say as I am only halfway through the second book 😉 really hope I still feel the same way after I am finished with all three books!

  6. I’ll check out The Hunger Game. I love books like that where you just get lost and then feel inspired to write as well. I felt that away after reading Edgar Sawtelle and anything by Chris Bojalian.

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