Here's the challenge set to me by Teresa at Dreamers, lovers, and Star Voyagers ; I must pick my FIVE favourite reads and ask 5 friends to do so also.
By author? Too many. Even picking one author I really like, I couldn't bring it down to five. There is a lot of good writing out there. I even tried by era. Not at all helpful, in fact it added to my list since I'd forgotten lots.
So then I asked myself, well, WHY do I like this book and want it in my pile? The whys were a little different and 5 jumped out at me.
So. Here it is. The 5 books that changed my life and my writing (both) in some way so significant that I just have to share them with you.
THE FIRST BOOK THAT MADE ME WANT TO TELL STORIES:
The Haunting of Hill House By Shirley Jackson
I was probably in grade 7 when my wonderful English teacher pulled this one off the shelf of meager selection for me to try. (SHOUT OUT TO ALL THOSE WONDERFUL LANGUAGE TEACHERS.) I was already an avid reader and enjoyed a variety of books but this one hooked me in a very different way. I remember looking at storytelling with new eyes.
I keep thinking I should reread it now that I'm slightly older, but I'm scared to. What if it doesn't affect me the same way it did over twenty years ago? I'd hate to ruin the magic. I mean, when I put this book down my only thought was that one day, I'd be a storyteller, too.
AND WRITE THEM WELL:
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print by Renni Browne, Dave KingThis book is one of many that gave me the confidence I needed to turn my quantity into quality. I chose this one because I found it pulled me from my closet and made me think, "I can."
This is my motivation. It is written in easy to follow English. It is fun to read. It works. And it means I can story tell in a way that doesn't make my wonderful English teacher cringe.
Reincarnation by Suzanne WeynThere were actually LOTS of books that fit this slot. But I picked this one out of the bunch cause it is a shining example of the type of storyteller I want to be. It makes writing look easy. It breaks the rules. It had me so invested I was furious, breathless, frustrated, happy AND THEN.... it left me satisfied.
I don't actually remember putting it down until it was done which is what made me select it over a few others that I consider the best rule breaking fiction out there. It made me think, "Why am I following the rules? Just... tell the story the way it needs to be told."
WITH CHARACTERS WE RELATE TO:
You Can't Lie to Me by Janine Driver
This one changed how I write. It changed how people talk to me. It changed the way I look at people around me. (potential characters... um right?) I don't always like what I see or learn, but the truth hurts and this is a new element that I brought into my writing that adds flavour and nasty evilness.
Anyone who was in my life while I read this book must have found me annoying, cause it was all I talked about. I use it all the time. I use it in my writing, in my business, in my life, with my kids. To start conversations... and to end them.
AND THAT CHANGE LIVES:
Captain Underpants- the entire collection by Dav Pilkey
Is there a child in you life? Heck with the age, the gender, just grab a copy of any of the Captain Underpants and snuggle up to read for a few minutes...
Magic will happen.
I was shocked. I still am. These books changed everything. They reminded me that the audience is the boss who every storyteller must please. WHO do we write for? Now I look at each word I write and ask myself if this is the right word for my target audience. Is it the magical one that will make them giggle, cry, cringe, keep reading.
But... it did so much more.
It added laughter in my life. Two giggling kids rolling off the bed means we will read this again and again. So far, we read the entire series twice. A book takes us two to three nights to devour. Next time they get to read it to me. We have voices that I can't get wrong. My oldest one quite often added in her two cents, reminding me that she is young enough to enjoy a goofy book, but old enough to know I should have used a much more boring tone when reading that Blah blah blah part. Come on, Mom!
It brought us together as a family. It got my son to pick up other books in hopes they are THAT good. It got my daughter reading a series she likes to her brother. It made me take a look at what works in a book. It might be a silly book, but it changed my life, my writing, and left a wonderful scar on my children.
So now I'm supposed to pick 5 who I challenge to share 5 of their faves with us.Since I know how hard this is, I'm not going to point the finger. I challenge everyone. Dare you to try and find books that are your favourite and tell us why. Link back to me so I can read your list. Can't wait to see who wins this challenge.
Everyone else, who just isn't up for the challenge, well, what book changed your life and why?