Sunday, March 11, 2012

What Inspires You?

It's Manuscript in Motion Mondays (let's call it MIMM for brevity's sake), and this week I think I might actually get this blog-link-party-thing right (sorry Kasey!). Don't you hate it when it's very apparent that you are a newbie? Anyway...

The challenge for this week was What Inspires You?, and Kasey has given us a week to think through some of our favorite books and passages of text and reflects on their influence in our writing.

So I thought, and I thought, and I thought. And I couldn't think of how to answer the question. Not because I don't have an answer, but because I couldn't single one down. With so many positive literary influences and so many favorite books and authors, I couldn't think of just one passage to reflect on. I began to feel frustrated. Why is this so hard? Come on Mandi, can't you just pick one???

Then the other day I came across a list that got the wheels in my head turning. I realized I had my answer, and now I'm going to share it with you. And since today is MIMM, I'm going to relate it to my current WIP.

So I'm writing a Dystopian right now. In fact, I'm almost finished. Really close. Painfully close. So close I've actually slacked off on blogging and laundry other things that should be getting a little more attention, because once the kids go to bed every night, I just write.

And because I'm writing dystopian, I'm reading it as well. I've been scouring goodreads and blogs for recommendations on good dystopian reads.

I've read the Hunger Games, and thoroughly enjoyed it, but aside from that and Lois Lowry's The Giver, back in Jr. High, I didn't think I knew much about this genre. Since that time, I've happened upon some amazing dystopian reads, such as Abel Keogh's "The Third" and Jeff Hirsch's "The Eleventh Plague", Ally Condie's "Matched", Lauren Oliver's "Delirium", and Scott Westerfeld's "Uglies". And with each novel, my love and interest in the genre has grown.

So where, I ask, did this interest grow from? All my life I've considered myself a YA speculative fan, of anything fantasy, sci-fi or paranormal based (as long as it's clean!), and while Dystopian certainly fits in that category, until the past year, I didn't even know it existed as a trend, never mind a genre.

So when a critique partner pointed out that my current WIP was dystopian, and then I learned that it was currently a trend in literature, I hit the library looking for more great dystopian reads. And like I mentioned earlier, I keep finding them. Rodman Philbricks "The Last Book In The Universe" was fantastic. So was Kristen Landon's "The Limit". And there's more, and still several waiting on my shelf begging to be read. And I can't wait to get to them.

To bring this story full circle, and back to the MIMM, imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon a list of dystopian fiction, that get this - dates back to the 1950's! (The link is on my sidebar right under the dystopian reading challenge)

Curious, I began to pour through the list and was amazed at how many of the books I had read and never really realized were dystopian until I stopped to think about it.

And then I hit 1990, and a name jumped out. Monica Hughes. A Canadian writer whose books I gobbled up in Jr. High. And guess one type of book she'd wrote, all of which I'd read?
That's right - dystopian.

So the answer to this weeks question - what inspires you?

The list is too long for just one post. But at the moment, without a doubt, because of the labor of love that is my current WIP, my inspiration draws back to my early days of reading, and the high quality of literature in the dystopian genre I read then, and continue to read now.

Don't you just love little surprises like that?

Your turn - what inspires you?

On a side note - I'm realizing I've barely scratched the surface of this fascinating genre, despite it's current lime light. If you know of any good dystopian reads I haven't discovered yet, please share! Just leave a comment below.

If you are interested in participating in the MIMM challenge, just like on this image and join the linky party!

Mormon Mommy Writers


  1. I'm writing something that isn't really like something else, but I find inspiration in anything beautifully written. I love someone who can manipulate language into beauty.

    1. I completely agree. There are few things better than reading a book full of beautiful prose.

  2. I love the list you put together. I had no idea there were so many dystopian books. My boys are loving the Rot and Ruin series. They have a plate surround on the car they drive that says "I'd rather be hunting zombies".

    1. Hey Cathy, thanks for visiting. I wish that I could take credit for that list, but I didn't actually put it together. I just stumbled upon it, but wanted to link to it for future reference. And the Zombie genre in books and television seemed to have snuck up like the apocalypse it warns about. Isn't it funny when that happens?

  3. I just finished re-reading Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry (thought of as a companion to The Giver) and I was reminded of how much I love dystopian as well! I am excited to try some of the books you've recommended here, and I look forward to reading your masterpiece when it's finished. Thanks SO MUCH for participating in MIMM! :-)

    1. I haven't read that Lowry work yet, but now I'm definitely going to have to!


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