Books that changed my life

I’ve always wanted to give credit where it’s due, so before I answer any more of your questions, I thought it would be good to give you a bit of a background. For me, reading comes before writing, and I learn something new from every book, but I wanted to share a list of the books that had the biggest impact on me and why:

  1. The Neverending Story” by Michael Ende: In hindsight, this is the book that made me want to become a writer, even though I didn’t dare say it out loud. I know I’m not alone here; this book is really inspiring.
  2. The Hobbit” + “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien: A classic, right? But these books did not only fuel my love for epic fantasy… they also helped me decide I wanted to study English Philology. I was very young at the time, so I didn’t really believe I’d go through with it, but at 17 I realized (again) that it was the best degree for me.
  3. The Nightrunner Series by Lynn Flewelling: These novels belong to the fantasy of manners subcategory and are to blame for the longest book hangover I’ve ever had (over a year and a half!). Yes, they are that good. I’d never read anything like this series, and I thought I never would again. I’m glad to report I was wrong, but it was the first time I’d read a fantasy book in which the main characters ended up being LGBTQ+, and I didn’t know where to find more.
  4. Widdershins” by Jordan L. Hawk: It turned out one of my friends did know where to find more, and wisely told me to read this book (which is the first in a series). It cured my book hangover, made me want to read and write again, and helped me rediscover a genre I thought was too homogeneous for me: Romance. The book was a real eye-opener, the kind that makes you ask “Wait, people can do that?!”, and my life has fortunately never been the same afterward.

 

This list is chronological, as you might have guessed. Of course, there are many books I love just as much, but reading these were life-changing experiences, and I hope this post will help you understand what I want to write one day.

 

el-hobbit
The edition of “The Hobbit” my parents have. Photo taken from elbiblionauta.com

How did I start writing?

I got asked this question and the short answer is: I’m not sure. I’ve been thinking about it, and I remembered I used to write diaries and very long letters, but I wasn’t very good at keeping diaries and people tend to stop replying to handwritten letters, so that was it.

But then I started what I didn’t know was a self-insert fanfic when I was 10 or 11 years old. As you might have guessed, I’m very glad I never shared it online (I didn’t have a computer and AO3 didn’t even exist back then!), but it must be hidden somewhere. And it shall remain that way forever. It was an animorphs fanfic, if you have to know, and all my friends were in it, of course. Together we were fighting the Yeerks, saving the Earth, getting Tobias to open up about his feelings…. the usual. There was no romance because I wasn’t the only one who liked Tobias, so I didn’t want to make him choose. Better to keep all options open and all parties interested.

I was 13 when my parents heard about a writing workshop for kids. I went there every Sunday for a while, but they cancelled it. Some years later, they decided to open one for teens with the same teacher, and I joined again. And after a while, I joined the one for adults, even though I wasn’t an adult yet. There was a a very intelligent boy who was even younger than me, a goth girl that fought ignorance and intolerance in every way, a Tunisian girl whose writing flowed as beautifully as her drawings, a journalist that hated journalism, a historian that loved auctions, and lots of mate (the drink). One day I got to touch a piano score handwritten by Chopin. It was amazing.

We even published a few books, but nothing too long or elaborate.

After the workshop ended for good, I tried writing a couple of things. But not having a teacher who would tell me if they were good or not… meant I just decided they weren’t. To be honest, my fantasy story was too childish and still a bit of a self-insert, so I think I was right to abandon it. Still, I didn’t want to let some of the characters die, and I kept thinking about them… until I got that notebook I told you about. That’s when I decided to rewrite the whole story now that I know what I want. More or less.

Years have passed and I’m still not confident enough, but I’ve decided to keep writing. Mainly because I enjoy it. But also because these stories and characters are eating my brain until I let them out.

Books don’t write themselves, yes, but they also take a lot of space until you do.

 

Power-of-words-by-antonio-litterio-creative-commons-attribution-share-alike-3-0
Taken from Wikimedia Commons.