A lot of the books I read end up adding to what I write. Characters, words, worlds, even just that mix of tones (a little darkness, a dash of magic and a small smidge of humor); it all affects how I write.
There are authors who energize; who help me get off of my ass and start writing again. There are the writers who function like literary warning signs. Danger! Do Not Mix These Genres: Disastrous Results! There are the writers that show me that what I’m doing ahs been done over and over and over and over again and maybe I should head down a different path.
I steal styles and I lift characters. I shuffle off with piece of plot and I make off with ideas. Every book I read, every story I see, it’s a jolt of inspiration. Not to take the whole thing. That’s just intellectual thievery.
But every writer borrows. Every writer finds his or her ideas. They lay about waiting to be discovered time and again. They find them, they piece them together, they work them into something new that hasn’t been seen before. They take those old ideas and make them shine like new again. They find new truths buried in ideas that have been kicking around since Man was capable of intelligent thought.
It is the job of an artist, whether a writer or a painter or a sculptor, to take those old ideas and breathe themselves into it.
And that’s…not that hard, really. Art isn’t hard. It’s just the follow-through that some might find troublesome.