Lowest Common Denominator

StoryShop Forums Building Your World Genre Lowest Common Denominator

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    Jeremy
    Participant
    We all know the trope – “read as much as you can to expand your creativity”, etc., etc. But where do you go to START your novel or piece of short fiction? What is the foundation for all others in the genre, in your opinion? Do you head straight for “Lord of the Rings” when you are preparing to write your Fantasy epic? Dust off your Robert B. Parker “Spenser” novels when you are wanting to write about a hard-bitten P.I.? Refresh your memory of “Memoirs of a Geisha” when working through your historical fiction novella? What do you consider the best “seed generator” for any particular genre?

    For example, any time I am starting a new Fantasy project, I dig through at least a few chapters of Roger Zelazny’s “Nine Princes in Amber” – it remains the absolute target that I am shooting for any time I am writing in the genre.

    How about you?

    – Jeremy

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      Sophia Uhlenhoff
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      My best “seed generator” for epic fantasy is, without doubt, Brandon Sanderson (especially his Stormlight Archivesseries). I just love his world building, magic systems, and amazing plot twists. My favorite thing, however, is how he makes you think that one magical entity/person is evil and then suddenly you find out that the magical entity that you thought was good is actually the evil one… Mwuhahaha. Anyways, I hold his books up as the standard of excellence when I’m writing epic fantasy.

      As for modern fantasy, Percy Jackson and the Olympianstakes the cake.

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      Leenna Naidoo
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      For romantic suspense or action/adventure, I would re-read Mary Stewart and Alistair MacLean. I grew up reading them and their plots and pacing are still some of the best I’ve ever seen.

      For fantasy, Terry Pratchett and Diana Wynne Jones would be the ultimate fun and inspiration with maybe a little bit of Alan Dean Foster and some Stasheff, maybe. And if I’m in the mood, then Margaret Mahy, too.

      For scifi, I’d probably reach for Harry Harrison, Heinlein and a good anthology from the 80s and 90s when scifi seemed more fun than now.

      And I’d watch a good movie in the genre, too.

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      dmb
      Participant
      I tend to shoot for mood more than genre when I’m boning up before a project. If I know I’m gonna be grim and gritty, whether in a sci-fi or a western or whatever, I like to pick out The Road or No Country for Old Men by McCarthy. But I personally really love that style. My favorite sci-fi book of all time is Dune. But I don’t think I would EVER read it to try to get focused on writing sci-fi. It would overwhelm me since I tend to write more pulpy stuff (in the Star Wars flavor).

      Anywho, that’s just me. Great question though! It’s got me thinking about what to read and write next…

      Redneck Granola
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