Sunday, April 3, 2011

C is for C.S. Lewis and Cassiopeia C.S. Lewis,

My mom read chapters of The Chronicles of Narnia to me and my little sister every night before bed when I was growing up. I loved fantasy from the very beginning, and you brought me to this magical world over and over again. By the time I was nine or ten, I was reading them myself—over and over again.

I know that these books influenced me. I know that they still do influence me. As many books as I've read over the years, your Narnia books will always be the ones that built a framework for my abundant love of fantastical tales.

Thank you for that.

A Fan

Dear Cass,
I think out of the six sisters that were in my 2009 NaNo Novel, you got the short-end-of-the-name stick. Yes, you all had names from Greek mythology, but you probably had it the roughest as a little girl. Aside from the nasty nickname kids came up with, you also had to learn to spell Cassiopeia. I couldn't even write that out correctly for a while! I kept swapping E for I or mixing up vowels at the end.

I'm giving you a mention here today because you were the sister that I felt I knew the least when I wrote this novel.  (Which was still more than most characters when I start a book--it was crazy how fully-formed all of you guys were when you dropped into my head that October.)  But when I went back after NaNoWriMo to read everything I'd written, I was very surprised to find that there were several little things about you that were consistent throughout the book and that helped make you unique—things that I hadn't even realized I'd written. People might think that I'm crazy for not knowing exactly what I wrote, but perhaps those who have written a novel in a month will understand that sometimes when all of those words are coming out, you really don't remember.

And I have to tell you, it was an awesome experience to see everyone true to character and personality, but it was especially awesome with you, since you were the one I was most worried about.

Thanks for being you (and sorry about the awful childhood nickname),
The Rambling Writer

*Two questions for today:

1. Is there a particular author who has influenced you a great deal?

2. Is there anything you've ever written—no matter how small—that helped build your story/characters, and you didn't realize it was there until you were rereading it?


  1. 1. The author that has influenced me the most in both writing style, and the desire to write is undoubtedly Terry Pratchett.

    2. I once wrote a short-short to fulfill a challenge. I grabbed a character I had used before and stuck him in a scene that was very typical for him. By the end of it he had more depth than I had ever planned. It was a very rewarding experience.

    I found your blog through the A-Z challenge. I'm enjoying it very much so far. I'll be coming back for a while. It is relevant to my interests. ^^

    -Adam Jones
    Meet Adam Jones

  2. I LOVE C.S. Lewis! I would have to say that Narnia was the series that stirred my love for fantasy as well. I still read them as an adult.

    I'll have to think about your second question and get back to you.

  3. I also love the Narnia books. I read all of them in just 10 days when I was 16 years old. He was a big influence on me and my love of fantasy.

    Coming from a theatre background, I often have conversations out loud with my characters, and things come out of my mouth I wasn't expecting and I find myself saying 'Oh, I didn't know you were like that!' I love it when characters surprise you.

  4. A Horse and His Boy was my favourite Narnia book, but the way the series ended and what he did with Susan was quite a shock and a little callous, I thought.


  5. I have authors who influenced me to read, the usual suspects: Lewis, Tolkien, Pierce, McCaffery, Zimmer Bradley, L'Engle, Eddings...

    And I have the authors who influenced me to WRITE. You, Faith, Rebecca, Jo Graham, Melissa Scott...etc. ;)

    As for characters who surprised me, I created Cole to be a fill-in-the-blank sort of dude, and he's carried my main protagonists through a novel and a half now. It's weird how that happens.

  6. I didn't get to read the Narnia books until I was an adult, but I've enjoyed them.

  7. Awww, I love Cass!

    1. I think you know all of my influences. They're mostly in line with yours.

    2. I think we both know a certain "White Knight" whom we discovered was slightly less white upon closer inspection, without us having written anything different on paper about his conduct.

  8. Most of my previous writing was awful so it's shown me how far I've come, when I make comparisons with current WIPs. I am also a fan girl of C. S. Lewis. His work is timeless. Thx for stopping by my blog and reminding me about LEVERAGE. Idk how I forgot to list that. ( I love hardison & Sophie)

  9. JKRowling--not because I write like her (IN MY DREAMS) but because she taught me how to FINISH a novel (the secret, my friend, is to know where it's going--at least I have to, or it gets abandoned midway).

    As for the 'holy crap-did I write that?'--good stuff, huh? I totally love that sensation. Doesn't always happen, and it happens most often when I've written fast, probably because it's more like I'm channeling the story than writing it when I go fast (but also because my expectations are always 'I know this is crap')

  10. I love it when that happens. Kind of freaky, to be honest -- when you almost subconsciously create something. I literally crafted an entire love story in my first book, unintentionally. When someone pointed out that they were devastated that two certain characters didn't end up together, I had to break the news that one of them died. When I went back to reread, I realized this was a literary crime, so the girl got to live and my story got a romance.

    Go figure :)

  11. Hi, very cool about all of your writing endeavors (read in your profile). I'm a fellow A to Z'er and a fellow writer of YA. I'm happy to follow you.

  12. I was swept away by the Chronicles of Narnia when I was a kid. They are so awesome.

    I've been influenced by a lot of different authors so I couldn't pick one or even two.

    Greate post.

  13. I live CS Lewis too! I once started writing a blogpost about characters only to discover that all of mine were going through one of the stages of grief. I had no idea until that moment. Changed my whole perspective.

  14. Thumbs up for CS Lewis! I read the whole series when I was younger and completely missed the religious/retelling of the bible.
    It wasn't until I read them again now that I'm older that I was able to pick up on it and see what the fuss was about.

    A throwaway comment from a throwaway character led to me designing a whole system of Knights and kings. Now that the system is in place I've got to go through it again and promote or demote characters to the right position.

  15. Adam-It's great to see what can come out of short scenes or stories when our characters are put in them! And thanks for following. :)

    Rebecca-I haven't read them in a while--I think the last thing I did was listen to some of the Narnia radio theater, which was fun. :D But I'm due for a reread at some point!

    Angeline-That's awesome that you have out loud conversations with your characters. I have the "I didn't know that about you!" moments, but they usually get said in letters I write to my characters. ;)

    mood-The Horse and His Boy is my favorite, too.

    Kate-Aww, thank you! :D And it is weird how that happens. Characters who were only supposed to have a brief role--or no role--are suddenly Super Important.

    Alex-Glad you've enjoyed them, no matter when you read them! ^_^

    Faith-Thanks; I love her too. :D Hehe, yes, I think I know your influences. And ahh, our not-so-White-Knight. *grins*

    NiaRaie-It's always amazing to see how far writing comes along with time and practice! And you're welcome--Leverage is great. :D Thanks for coming by!

    Hart-Knowing the ending always helps! Sometimes I write ahead in my stories, but I usually don't touch the ending--it's my reward for finishing the book. ;) And I totally know what you mean about channeling when going fast.

    Bess-How awesome that you created a love story that way! It's amazing to see what comes out of our heads sometimes, isn't it? I'm glad your girl got to live--I'm totally a sucker for happy endings. :D

    Catherine-Thanks so much! It's nice to meet you. :D

    Rebecca-Thanks you!

    Kimberly-They're quite an adventure. :) Thank you!

    Kari-Ooh, how interesting! The realizations we have about characters can completely alter story/perspective. (Which can be awesome or a LOT of work, depending on what the realization was.)

  16. Gyran-Sorry, I was typing up my replies when you posted, so I didn't see yours until afterward! That's really interesting about a throwaway comment leading to the design of a whole system. I've had random comments from characters that made a huge impact on other things, too--it's always neat when things like that happen!


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!