One thing I’ve learned in the couple of years that I’ve been writing is that true originality is rare. As writers, we tend to emulate our the styles of our favorite authors or take on a bit of their voice. And in general, that’s a good thing, at least until we can figure out our own. These are the writers that awe me the most. The people I want to be when I grow up. The titans of writing, at least in my world.
1. Steven Moffat
For those of you who aren’t aware, Moffat writes both Doctor Who and Sherlock, both of which are brilliant, deep (well…sometimes) shows. In both shows, I’ve been blown away by his ability to do something completely unexpected (ala Reichenbach), to toy with viewers’ emotions(again, Reichenbach), and expertly bring it all together in coherent, well-written whole (everything, but Series Seven of Doctor Who). His plotting ability is something I can only look at and dream about. It’s fantastic!
2. Joss Whedon
Also, a screenwriter, Whedon is one of the most original, imaginative writers I know of. Who else would write a TV show about space-cowboy criminals in an Asian-influenced future with mindreaders? No else would be brave enough to… Oh, and then there’s the Avengers. Just, you know, the most popular superhero movie of all time with one of the most profitable premieres of all time, as well. Not only that, but the man manages to write some of the most stunning, beautifully characterized…um…characters that I’ve ever seen. Honestly, who else can juggle a cast of eight major characters and still give each of them a distinct personality and purpose? Especially in an action movie? Brilliant fellow.
3. Patrick McManus
He’s…sort of a modern Mark Twain. His style is very similar, with the same ability to create mind-blowing and completely hilarious mental pictures. He’s one of the few authors who can make me burst out laughing in dead silence simply from reading a book. The scenarios he dreams up are completely absurd, over-the-top, and positively inspired. I. Love. His. Work. I’ve been trying to copycat his style for years.
4. Mary Connealy
She’s my favorite Christian romance author ever. She’s prolific, but she never gets in a plot rut. Her work is unquestionably Christian, but she never plays the “it’s-Christian-fiction-so-the-writing-can-be-terrible-and-no-one-will-care” card. The romance is obviously very, very prominent(and quite the romance it is), but she keeps it clean. The historical setting is also very prominent, but she doesn’t allow it to rule the story. The characters are all unique, lovable people, and the books themselves are a lovely package of sweetness and action and humor.
5. Louis L’Amour
This guy gets a bad rap far too often, simply because he wrote Westerns and Westerns tend to be somewhat predictable. So what? The only thing predictable is the ending–the bad guy dies, the good guy gets the ranch and the girl. Again, so what? This guy tend exhaustive research on all of his stories–something that shines through in all his stories– so much so that you may feel like you’ve had an obscure history lesson from the mouth of a historical personage after reading one of them. Not only that, but he could write anything. Anything! He did mysteries, westerns, mild sci-fi–he even did a bit of romance, since most of his books included an element of it. That’s a talent I really wouldn’t mind having.