Who do you think your biggest influence was and why?

This could be a supportive relative or teacher, a show/movie/book/game that you like, or a literary hero of yours. Hotfoot's biggest influences I'd have to say would be CWs the flash, Dr Horrible, Blackjack villian series, and too many webserials to name. Personally, I think my group of friends have really given me the motivation to continue with this little pet project of mind, and they provide much needed constructive criticism. How about you guys and gals?

On my current project, pretty obviously, Keith Aksland, my co-writer. In writing From Winter's Ashes, he's been solid gold throughout the project in creating and fleshing out compelling characters. He's got a great eye for humour and he supports me as I do a lot of the less glamorous parts of the writing.

On my career overall, the author Peter Watts. Dude writes the crunchiest, hardest, bleakest science fiction I've ever enjoyed, and his curiosity for fascinating applications of neurology and Big Questions in science fiction enthrall me. While his academic rigor inspires me to make even my fantasy adventure projects be as answerable to things like thermodynamics and biology as I can be.

I'd also put some special shout-outs to:

Charles Stross, whose work on 'The Laundry' was probably the first exposure I had to treating magic systems in a universe with scientific-esque rigor.

M.C.A. Hogarth, whose work on 'The Three Jaguars' gave me a lot of the moral courage I needed to take my writing to the next level. Everytime I write anything to do with the faith systems within FWA, I'm keeping her in mind, hoping what I write would appeal to her kind and outward treatments of positive faith. (I'm not a religious man, but I find the faithful of most any creed to generally be excellent company and neighbours.) I lay a little bit of credit for the portrayal of Neela and Heather's interactions with their faith, at her feet. :)

My spouses who support and tolerate this lumpy potato-shaped hermit of a man who snarls at them to be left alone while he's writing, only to need cuddles ten hours later and assurances that his work isn't utter crap. (The Author's Spouse Struggle is real.)

On-Spec, the Canadian magazine for fantasy and science fiction, and the American cousins Asimov and Fantasy & Science Fiction Monthly, which I still look to regularly to see what real quality work looks like.

The various classic epics- especially the tragic ones. It's so easy to see my first book's Arthurian connections that it's almost too obvious. Hilariously, no a single comment to that effect has been made.

The new one's promising to fill a sort of Tristran and Isolde space... although not really... it started with that intent but's already spiraled so far out of the target zone... really, it's still a story of "what is family... who you're born with, or who you choose to love?"... but ultimately the journey and destination will take a very different path.

Also got a loose inspiration from the Illiad and one for Gilgamesh in the near future. Not really seeing Beowulf yet... though it's not been ruled out.

This is a really cool question, but also classically difficult; we all pull influences in technique and content from all over the place after all, a lot of which is entirely unconscious.

For my serial, there is a direct and foremost influence, and its from sh?nen manga/anime. Not very classy, I know, but that really is the base impulse behind the whole thing. Growing up, I always loved the energy and vibrancy of stuff like DBZ, Naruto, One Piece, and I thought it would be a nice change to write something fast paced and light-hearted in web serial form, something fun and off-the-wall. Then again, with my protagonist being to all intents and purposes a Jewish superhero, I'm pulling from lots of biblical and mythological wells too. But the heart of it, the pace, the punch, the rule of cool, I have to credit to sh?nen stuff as corny as it can be.

Patrick, I love Charles Stross, and you've forced me to put Watts on my ever-growing reading list now; I think I'd be totally into that. TanaNari, I love that you taking influence from classical epics. They're enduring tales for a reason after all.

For me personally... I grew up reading voraciously and eclectically, so who knows for sure what all meandered into my brain. I read a lot of Stephen King, Robert McCammon, Tad Williams, Peter Straub, Dean Koontz. Most of those are horror writers, and I don't write horror, but they certain inspired me to make up my own stories and write them down. I also grew up watching General Hospital and One Life to Live, so that may be a source of melodramatic tendencies. ;) I also play a lot of video games, specifically RPGs and more specifically Bioware games like Dragon Age and Mass Effect and Knights of the Old Republic, and I'm sure those stories influence me as much as any written stories. In the years when I actually started pursuing writing seriously, I've had a couple of co-conspirators and beta readers who absolutely kept me going when I might have given up. And my sons, who will happily spend hours discussing writing theory and deconstructing TV/movie plots with me, and whose intermittent requests for the next chapter of whatever I'm writing would be enough to keep me going even if no one else was reading.

Crowmakers specifically has a hodge-podge of inspirations from song lyrics to weird dreams to my fascination with Native American history and lore. Oddly enough, it probably also draws a little from Girl Genius, because I was enthralled with the comic at the time and can remember thinking I should make this story idea I had more than just a straight fantasy, so I wound up playing around until I found steampunk elements, and it all sort of exploded from there. Graves is a more recent story idea that hatched when I was thinking about some of the themes in Dragon Age 2. I played as femHawke, and I adored the relationship between Hawke and her brother, and that definitely helped me build the main character and her brother. (There are other inadvertent parallels, too, I'm sure. I keep stumbling across them.) I'd also made the conscious decision to structure Graves more like a TV series. I hadn't done a lot of reading of or about web serials at the time, but I follow Elizabeth Bear's blog and had thus been reading Shadow Unit. Then I spent the summer with my Netflix-addicted sons binge watching Buffy and Angel and deconstructing Joss Whedon's work, so I'm reasonably sure some of that has influenced Graves, although not deliberately. OK, wait, I take that back. When I needed to come up with a character's hair color/style, I pulled a lazy-ass and gave him slicked-back platinum blond hair. (Hey, if iZombie can borrow the Spike look, so can I?)


Like LEErickson, I grew up reading voraciously, so it's hard to pin down a single influence. I owe a lot to my dad and his reading habits, as it was largely his books that I tore through, reading a lot of fantasy and scifi by names like Asimov, Anne McCaffrey, Mercedes Lackey, Tanith Lee, Peter F Hamilton, Tad Williams, as well as series like Dragonlance. Those are just the ones that spring to mind; there were a lot more.

On top of books, there was a wide range of movies and TV shows as well. They also helped influence my tastes and interests, in what they did right and what they did wrong (for me). I grew up watching various Star Trek flavours, and discovered that I liked the grittier, dirtier scifi of Farscape more when that came out. The quirky dialogue and humour of Joss Whedon's work (from Buffy through to Firefly, mostly) spoke to me. Comics also have their influences, mostly Marvel stuff, and mostly street-level/mature lines.

Media still influences me a lot these days, both in the cool stuff that other creators do and the ways in which stories fall down. Sometimes I'm inspired to emulate; other times I simply try to be better. Most of the time, I just try to keep my eyes open and keep learning.

As for specific influences, Starwalker was formed just as much by what I was trying not to do as the opposite. When thinking about a human-like AI, I didn't want to step into areas I felt had been 'done' (and done pretty well), like Anne McCaffrey's brain ships and Andromeda's Rommie. Also, the notion of an organic, living ship brings up Farscape. I wanted something that was a little different from all of these, a new angle on the notion of AI and human consciousness (though there's seldom anything truly 'new' in fiction), and a relatable, developing ship character. That all guided me towards what is now the weird and wonderful Starry and shaped a good portion of the story.

I have always been a broad reader, but the strongest influences that I can detect in my writing (ie the loudest voices in the choir) would probably be Robert Heinlein, Chris Claremont, Lawerence Kasdan and Stephen King. Behind them are Stan Lee, Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. And a little Sergio Leone.

From Heinlein I have an interest in science, progressive and positive protagonists, strong female characters, and philosophy examined through characters and their actions.

Claremont wrote X-Men for 16 years and took it from being a cancelled series to the biggest selling comic book in history. Serialization was something he did well - ongoing plot threads were constantly being weaved all the time. Hints, foreshadowing, suspense, actions having consequences, ripple effects - he could build stories on top of stories in layers. Stan Lee made Marvel, but Claremont elevated the potential into something brilliant. Plus strong female characters in a genre that usually treats them as damsels in distress or eye candy. He made Storm a leader, Kitty Pryde a computer hacking ninja, and Marvel Girl into Phoenix.

King wrote the Dark Tower after reading Lord of the Rings and watching The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. It synthesizes westerns, fantasy, science fiction, horror and romance into something unique. I strive for building something epic, and synthesizing influences into a coherent whole is how my brain works.

Kasdan seems to be the source of what I like best in Star Wars, given the prequels are a pile of steamy dung and I enjoyed The Force Awakens. Rogues, scoundrels, redemption, humour, banter, a tough Princess, philosophy, darkness and edge. Lucas had broad ideas borrowed from The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Flash Gordon, Kurosawa and Leone. Kasdan made things more "themselves" in the characters.

Lewis influenced my theology before I knew what theology was, and my imagination in Narnia. Everything having ultimate Purpose in my stories might come from him, but it wasn't exactly conscious at the time.

I really don't know what influenced me to start writing. I've been writing since I could write and coming up with stories before that. I know my mom read a lot and I started to read really early. I was reading chapter book before kindergarten, but I don't remember any specific book or author that gave me that drive. As far as I know, I've always just had it. Writing is something that I've always wanted to do and always done. And I can't say one author influences me now. I read so much and so many different genres it's hard to say.

Horror has a huge influence on my writing. I love horror. I grew up watching Tales From the Crypt, and devour nearly anything horror that I can get my hands on. I haven't read too many horror books lately, but I watch a lot of horror movies and some tv shows when I can. The dark and creepy always worm their way into my writing no matter the genre.

As far as writing web serials, I've always wanted to do it. I read a lot of comic books and thought it would be awesome to do something similar with writing. I just really didn't know how to go about it. Then, I finally found out about web serials and decided to just go for it.

Sin Eater is heavy in religious mythology. I'm really fascinated with religion and all the different beliefs they have so I tried to add that into this story. The show Supernatural had a little influence on it. Mostly just some small stuff though. The deal at the crossroad in the beginning was one of them, and angels and demons being on Earth. The idea of purgatory being a place came from that as well. The idea of the djinn in my story comes from the Wishmaster movies. Mostly the djinn taking on a human form and only being able to use their magic when someone makes a wish. As far as I know, those are the only outside influences of Sin Eater. Everything else is imagination and hours upon hours of research.

About... 90% Worm, and 5% Game of Thrones and 5% Stephen King. When I read Worm, I had not written anything original in... 15 years or so? But Worm gave me ideas and ambition. It changed my life.

Now that I think about it, all those years I spent roleplaying in hardcore RP MUDs probably influenced me quite a bit, as well. They taught me how to create flawed characters. Everything I ever wrote as a teenager was full of Mary Sues. :/

I'm touched, Chrys.

Like David Whitechapel said, it's a hard question to answer. I find there's just too much stuff I've taken in and incorporated to really name any one in particular. I could name my favorite works, but that's not constructive and winds up being a long list. I could also say that Legion of Nothing and Tales of MU were an inspiration for writing on a structural, process level, if not so much so for content.

It's been remarked on as strange that I don't really have a favorite author, as an author, but such is what it is.

I think that not having a favourite is almost NORMAL when you are a big reader or writer - I wrote NMAI because I had never seen a story like it. I think great writers do something that is quintessentially "theirs" which is hard to quantify or copy. I can spot some influences in my work, but even then they're inspirations, not copied, and there's no one clear favourite. I think a good writer focuses on their story, and a favourite would get in the way.

Thinking back through what could possibly have influenced me, I'd have to say that stand-up comedy factors into it a lot. Probably the most prominent voices I can think of for this are George Carlin and Christopher Titus. They have some pretty dark comedy and some crude comedy. If you want just the main question of this thread answered, stop right there. If not, there's also room for Ron White and Lewis Black in there. I wouldn't be surprised to find The Daily Show with Jon Stewart seeped in, too.

Aside from that, I have to identify pro wrestling as a big influence. It's a bunch of outlandish characters in tights fighting with attacks that couldn't actually be performed in a real world fight a lot of the time. And occasionally doing some pretty extreme stunts in the process.

I probably wouldn't be anywhere near superheros if I hadn't gotten interested in Civil War during college. I'm not entirely proud of having taken some subconscious cues from Wanted and The Boys, though. My interest in Marvel led to City of Heroes, which led to roleplaying and early superhero writing. Plus, my first character in the entire game was the villain Psycho Gecko. To date, the character has the same powerset now as he did then. From the people I knew in CoH, I also ran into stories like Soon I Will Be Invincible! and Dr. Horrible, both of which involve sympathetic super villain protagonists.

My love of horror also shows, I've noticed. Some of it's just the situations that arise, some of it is specific characters (Spinetingler) and some of it's just a matter of Gecko's unique reactions to such scenarios.

There are all sorts of smaller influences that creep in with the creation of certain characters, too. An example is Raggedy Man (who used to team up with Raggedy Mandy), in a storyline that deals with the possession of a magical wish-granting stick. Apparently I'm the only person on this part of the internet who read any Raggedy Ann and Andy stories as a kid.

Finally, I also have to bring up the role of other web serials. Wanting some free and different stories to read, I stumbled onto Legion of Nothing, where my commentary began. People liked it so much that an explanation of use of appropriate force prompted someone to suggest I write. Some time later, I got into Worm and people there started saying the same thing. So, despite a LOT of reservations, I set out to write my own sort of thing. Whatever that was. While I didn't take so much directly from Worm, I did enjoy making a story about an unrepentant murderous supervillain in contrast to the moral ambiguity felt by Taylor and so many others in Worm. Despite all the people he killed and how he didn't care, his was the lighter story. So Worm definitely played a role, just a little different one than it did for Chrysalis or Tieshaunn. And I wouldn't have ever gotten around to it if I didn't have Jim Zoetewey, Wildbow, and some of their fans suggesting I should.

*points* So don't arrest me! They're the ones to blame, officers!

As far as my immediate social circle, I would definitely have to say my close friends, most of whom are all creative people who share our stories around and workshop them together. A couple of them are beta readers for Antlers and have given me a lot of great feedback and ideas that got incorporated into the story. Definitely also my favorite creative writing teacher from high school, who was really tough-but-fair with her critique and pushed me to meet deadlines and polish my writing. And my older cousin, who's in a local folk band! She's an amazing writer and storyteller and she's definitely been someone who inspired me to raise the bar for myself in terms of my creative endeavors.

Outside of my real life, I would say that David Wong's books probably have the most influence on my writing - so much of Antlers's tone and overall feel were originally derived from John Dies At The End. I also started watching/reading a lot of media set in the Southwest/Midwest once I started Antlers, and the writing of Fargo (the TV series) has had a huge influence on me. Plus I've loved Stephen King since I was in middle school, so I feel like his work has a big sway over the way I write mystery and suspense. Other influences...pretty much anything in the horror genre I've read and enjoyed, and Daniel Handler, whose narrative voice I've always really admired.

Worm was pretty much what got me into actively advertising Antlers and participating on websites for web fiction authors, because I hadn't really known there was a community of people who wrote serials until I got really into Worm. It definitely gave me the push I needed to become a part of that community, which I'm really grateful for!

Just in short, I wanted to voice something. Worm/Pact/Twig are easily twenty times longer than anything else I've read, Bible notwithstanding. It seems to me that the Web Serial format is remarkable in that, it really seems to allow for both larger consumption, and creation, of truly original content. There are a lot of really inspiring writers, just in this thread alone, who've made the most of that.

Personally, I'm inspired by my own beliefs and struggles, which I think we all are. And I learn by picking at things, going 'I see what you did there', whenever I read or watch something. Conceptually I was inspired by a group I know who RP, with genre-crossing and very original OCs. Which Dirge is sort of the official webserial for, and which makes up the majority of the expanded universe. I took that setting and made it my own. The reason I choose to do what I'm doing, is that it gives me the freedom to delve into the subjects I want to, without boundaries to bind it. Beyond that, I haven't read enough diverse fiction to really pin down what I've copied over. Worm got me into this, and taught me the framework of serial writing, I know that.

It's my friends though, most of whom I'm related to, who pull me out of the vacuum I think in, and make me want to keep working towards tangible goals. So to them, I'm infinitely grateful. In fact, I'ma go tell 'em.

PS: Music. All the music.

I'm with Wildbow here. In more than one way even.

First there's no one writer or book or story I'd credit with being the most inspirational for me. Everyone taught me something, even the bad ones, and pushed me in some way. I remember being very angry as a teenager about a badly written fantasy novel and knowing 'I could do better'. I also adore quite a few modern writers like Calvino and Borges for their playfullness, Camus for his somber tragic, Mann for his irony, Sanderson for his approach etc.

Pinpointing only one would be hybris - or pretentious.

Second: I do credit Wildbow however with pushing me to just start. If only because Worm fits perfectly into the niche between 'great, inspirational masterwork of an artist' and 'relatable, flawed work of a human being'. By which I mean it showed me the possibility to 'progress' from writer to artist. If that makes any sense. All too often I felt helpless, irrelevant before my own ambition to write something great only made worse by me reading mostly classics and studying somewhat timeless masters.

I don't mean that in any bad way, though! Worm's great and I don't know how often I still preach about it relentlessly. But it showed me that flaws are okay, that there's no big mark of perfection I need to acquire before I can start and it's as much a journey for the writer as for the readers.

As I do credit a whole bunch of others here. :) So make of that what you will.

For my current serial, Desert Steel, three main works come to mind: The good, the bad and the ugly; The Gunslinger by Stephen King, and Steel Ball Run, Jojo's bizarre adventure part 7.

The first two for the atmosphere and scenery, and the last one for the clothing, characters and maybe a little quirkiness.

People have seen Mad Max in my serial, which I can totally see myself, but it was never in my mind when writing.

In a broader scheme, Terry Pratchett is one of my all time favourite authors, although I've never really been able to replicate his talent for humour and satire.

Oh yea. I can totally see those three in desert steel.

I'd say Seanbaby and a lot of the writers for Cracked back in the old, old days of 2013 or so. After that, probably Fight Club (specifically the movie, not the book), and the little know YA series, The Remnants (specifically book 12, which was all about one of the characters eating another of the characters and having to live with that eaten guy's voice in her head - plus two other people's that she ate later).

Yeah. That's actually it, I think. I take bits of inspiration from a bunch of places, but those are the actual influences. :P

Oh my god, I read the first few volumes of Remnants a while back and LOVED them! It's so hard to find the books anywhere though, so I never ended up finishing the series.

@Marn - It was a freaking hunt to find them, I'll say that much. I stumbled on number 4 as a kid before I went off on a ferry ride, so I had plenty of a commute to try and piece together what the hell wan happening (took forever and I still only understood what was on the back cover's summary), but I liked it. I think from there it took about... two-ish? Two and a half years? But two and a half years AFTER about five years before I (or my mom) stumbled onto the first one and started collecting them. 'Found the Next Book Day' was always a good day, and Number 12 Day was the best one. :D

Stil might not have Number 9, or whatever one it was where Kubrick bites it. Uh - spoilers for a fifteen year old YA series.