Friday, February 6, 2009

My Personal Top Five Writing Influences

Everybody is different. My friends have entirely different lists. This is my personal list of writing influences; the people who have helped me get to where I am today. Obviously there have been many other influences on my writing, but these five are the people I keep going back to again and again.

Margie Lawson
Ralph Keyes
Debra Dixon
James N. Frey
Jack M. Bickham

Margie Lawson—this amazing woman not only teaches amazing classes on how to make your work shine like new designer shoes, she also teaches a class on Defeating Self-Defeating Behaviors. She’s had a profound affect on my work and my life.

Ralph Keyes—the fact that I’m published can be attributed in large part to this man. I’ve read The Courage To Write: How Writers Transcend Fear several times, and each time I am encouraged to write, to submit, and to enjoy the ride.
Debra Dixon—her book Goal, Motivation & Conflict: The Building Blocks of Good Fiction is required reading in many circles. Following her guidelines has encouraged many writers to make their plots thicker and their characters more interesting.

James N. Frey—this is NOT the man who got in trouble recently with the autobiography that wasn’t. This James Frey is a teacher of writing and has written How to Write a Damn Good Novel, How to Write a Damn Good Novel II, and The Key: How to Write Damn Good Fiction Using the Power of Myth. His books are well worth reading, and rereading.

Jack M. Bickham—the late Mr. Bickham is another amazing teacher. I learned everything I know about point of view from his book Writing Novels That Sell. I’m reading the highly recommended Scene and Structure now. I can’t believe I waited so long.

I believe my biggest mistake was not continuing to learn and grow in my writing technique. I don’t intend to do that again. My goal for this year is to continually be either reading a craft book or taking a craft class. So far so good. Join me?


  1. Cher, I am signed up for Margie's course on empowering character emotions.

    I am concentrating on writing and learning. So, for me, I'm all for workshops.

    Great list!


  2. Cheryel,
    Good choices. Your list of great instructors/ writing encouragers is a lot like mine.
    I'll be with your on studying the craft of writing this year.