YA Highway RTW: Who Do You Love?

This week’s YA Highway Road Trip Wednesday poses this question: Who has helped you on your reading/writing/publishing journey?

Be warned, ahead lie Harry Potter spoilers.

I’m probably going to miss people out here, but here goes anyway. To give an accurate answer to this question, I have to travel back more than ten years to creative writing classes taken as part of a gifted students program, because I’m awesome like that. I don’t remember much of the classes, but they did encourage to write me my first stories about Princess Flower and her unicorn called Rosie, who was later amended to Buttercup because I thought a golden unicorn was prettier than a pink one at that particular point in time.

After those classes ended, the next major influence in my writing is J.K. Rowling. I give Jo a lot of love on this blog, but let me rehash how she changed my life. Before Harry Potter, I read for school because it was expected of me, but all the books SUCKED. I’m not even kidding. Schools can have the worst taste in books sometimes, as I would continue to discover through the remainder of primary school and the entirety of my high school education. The first Harry Potter movie came out about eleven years ago and I immediately turned to the books upon leaving the movie theatre. My first lengthy works of fiction were Harry Potter fanfics where I was particularly inspired by Sirius’ death at the end of book five. Without J.K. Rowling’s wondrous books, I might not even be writing, or reading, or blogging. I would have never started writing Coldfire.

On the topic of fanfiction, some of my greatest helpers were moderators from the MuggleNet fanfiction website. This particular website has a set of guidelines fics have to satisfy to be displayed on the site, like decent grammar and plausible scenarios (of course “plausible” requirements depended on the section the fic belonged in). I distinctly remember one of the moderators teaching me how to write dialogue in a rejection email when I was twelve or thirteen. These moderators helped me improve my writing greatly. I no longer write Harry Potter fanfic and I never actually completed one, but I look back on it fondly, even though at the time the rejections were a little upsetting.

Closer to home, my parents have always encouraged my writing and supported me. A number of my friends were interested in my writing and the guy who later became my current boyfriend often let me use him as a sounding board for ideas. He was, and still is, a great audience and incredibly encouraging. I’m incredibly lucky to have all these people in my life who are so supportive, and I am also grateful for the strangers on the internet who helped me hone my craft and also for the gift that J.K. Rowling brought into the world.

Basically I’m just throwing out love to anybody who said nice (or sometimes no-so-nice but still helpful) things about my writing and have helped me get to where I am now, and to the people who continue to help me on my writing journey. To anyone who is reading this, I love you too. Feel free to share your own answer to the question in the comments here or on the YA Highway blog.


5 thoughts on “YA Highway RTW: Who Do You Love?

  1. Ah. I have so many influences and I’m always gaining more. I love to read a good book and then analyze it –try to figure out what makes it “great.” Rowling was a major influence for me. Currently, I’m most inspired by Cassandra Clare, Holly Black, & Melissa Marr.


    • Rowling will probably end up inspiring a lot of younger writers in the coming years. As for your other influences, Holly Black’s “White Cat” was excellent. I have the sequel on my shelf. Melissa Marr also has a nice style. I have one of Cassandra Clare’s books on my shelf. So many books, so little time.

      As far as my own more recent influences, I’d probably say Maggie Stiefvater has affected my writing. She has a lovely lyrical style and Sam Roth from the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy helped me get over my aversion to hurting my characters.


  2. This might be an unorthodox answer, but here goes:

    At some of my jobs, there was a pile of books that were lost and found or books no one wanted. During my free time, I would take the time to go through them. It was a variety of genres – from memoirs to romantic novels to historical novels. I got exposed to genres and authors I wouldn’t normally see in school. Reading those books gave me different insights on how to write and how to create characters (despite my interest being Sci-Fi). Eventually I just got the interest to write my own stories.

    This interest to write was further driven by NaNoWriMo. I have a competitive spirit that was dormant until recently. My friends and I always wanted to have the highest word count at the end. So in the months before November, I would explore crazy plot ideas I had thought of some time ago, research etc. One of those crazy plot ideas is now the basis for my current project.


    • The scope of literature studied in school can be quite narrow, given it’s often left up to the teacher to decide what’s worth studying. We do need to read a variety of works to be our best. Also, NaNoWriMo is a great kick in the pants to get writing.


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