Thursday, October 10, 2013

Being a Copy Cat: Anne Elisabeth Stengl

There are tons of fabulous books on my bookshelf written by equally amazing authors, and as I looked at the rows of many exciting fantasy books this morning, I realized something.

I want to copy the authors that I look up to so much.

Now I don’t mean copy as in plagiarism, but I mean copy as in finding what makes their story so wonderful, and applying it to my own work-in-progress. There are many authors that I look up to. Anne Elisabeth Stengl, Gail Carson Levine, Jessica Day George, Elizabeth Goudge, M. I. McCallister, Dave Barry, and Ridly Pearson are just a few. Each of these authors has the ability to make me feel whimsical, frightened, enthralled, mystified, and I realized that I personally want to convey their fantastic writing traits in my own story.

In Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s marvelous book series, The Tales of Goldstone Wood, she gives such a pristinely clear vision of when and where her books are taking place. This is something I want to express in my own work. I can easily picture where all of her castles and lands are, what  her characters look like, and where the story is taking place, because she herself obviously has a clear vision of the where, when, and who. Before I started my story, I took this into account. I tried to map out in my head where all of my kingdoms will be located, who my characters are and how their paths will cross, and have their paths crossed before? Of course, I am no expert. I only try to copy the authors who I look up to, and hope that my story will turn out alright!

While there are many more traits of Anne Elisabeth’s writing that I admire, the art of making her world feel so very established is what stands out to me the most when I read her books.

So my question for you today is this:

Who are the authors that you look up to? Are there any traits of theirs that you try to copy?

<3 Clara


  1. Oh yes, I completely agree! Along with her beautiful writing, I love how she writes her romances, creating much stronger relationships based on character rather than emotion. And actually notice how very little physical romance she places in there. She never causes the reader (or at least me) to stumble. And while she writes jarringly intense scenes that glue me to the page, she's never disturbed me.

    I really appreciate and admire that, and I wish I could write so well and thoughtfully one day! :)

    By the way, have you read Dragonwitch yet?

    1. Oh, yes, her romances and action scenes are always just amazing.

      Yes I did read Dragonwitch! As always, her books just get better and better! I honestly don't know how she does it.

    2. Awesome! Are you going to do a review of the book, out of curiosity? I'd love to hear your thoughts on it!

    3. I probably will! I don't know how soon I'll do it, but I will do a review eventually. :)

  2. I love Megan Whalen Turner and Dianna Wynne Jones! I love that their fantasy worlds are rarely explained and yet so comfortably accessible! And, of course, I love Anne Elisabeth Stengl's work in Goldstone Wood. If could copy her excellent authenticity in young characters, I would! :)

    1. Those are two of my favorite authors as well! You put it perfectly when you said that their worlds are rarely explained and yet so comfortably accessible.

      Thanks for the comment, Erin!

  3. Let's see . . . My favorite authors include Anne Elisabeth Stengl, Rafael Sabatini, C.S. Lewis, Diana Wynne Jones, Elizabeth Goudge, Robin McKinley, and oh, so many others . . .
    My daughter has a gift for creating characters that are defined and revealed by their thoughts and actions, not by appearance. I believe I would be fanatical about her work even if I had never met her! Being her mother is bonus (cuz I get to read every Goldstone Wood manuscript while it is forming!).
    I love Rafael Sabatini's ability to blend action/adventure with history. HIs characters tend to be over the top, but I love his books anyway. :-)
    C.S. Lewis--his books are so deep and challenging. I'm not an intellectual, but I do long to be deeper in my walk with God and to reveal that depth in my stories.
    The others--just a beauty of writing I can only dream of emulating.
    This is a fun post, Clara!

    1. Thank you Mrs. Jill!

      Those are all authors that I admire as well, although I have never read anything by Rafael Sabatini. But I have seen the classic movies The Black Swan and Scaramouch...Tyrone Powers and Maureen O'Hara are always a good team! I've never thought of reading one of his books until now. I'll have to check him out next time I'm at the Library!

      And it isn't fair that you get to read Anne Elisabeth's manuscripts while they develope! It simply isn't! :-)