Can Another Writer Influence Your Work? You Be the Judge

Have you ever wondered or worried that reading too much of another writers stories would begin to influence your own? I think that everyone has their own creative side and regardless of what has influenced them their own creativity will simply come out when they publish an original work. You might pick up bits and pieces of someone else’s style but the impact to your writing will be minimal… right?

In order to back up my theory I decided to read every book I could by a particular author and then write a short story. The purpose of this very uncontrolled test was for me to review this new work against my previous pieces and determine if my writing style had changed at all. In order to accomplish my task I had to decide on two important things. The first was the subject matter for my new story which was really easy because I have always wanted to write about the love/hate relationships that people have with their cell phones. The second and more daunting task was identifying a writer who I could use. Now there are many great authors that I enjoy reading like John Grisham, Mary Higgins Clark, and James Patterson but I didn’t want to spend the next 6 months locked down in my house in order to finish. In the end I needed a writer who had a large catalog of works that could be read in a short period of time and would keep me entertained so I could stay focused on my task. But where would I be able to find an author to satisfy all of these things? I found it in the most unlikely place…my kid’s bookshelf.

I am happy to report that the answer to whether another writer can influence your work is no! My story came together quickly and with no noticeable changes to my writing style. I understand that some people are still going to be skeptical because I did both the writing and the analyzing. In order to keep the results as accurate as possible I need to have some volunteers who are willing to participate and make this a more controlled test.

There are four simple rules for participation.

1. Read at least one of my previously published articles (if you are not already familiar with my writing style.)

2. Read my new story about people and their phones that is posted below.

3. You must have some knowledge of the author I have chosen and his writing styles. This should be the easiest of the rules as almost everyone is familiar with the amazing Dr. Suess!!!

4. Comment on whether you think my writing style has been impacted.

Thank you in advance for your participation and hope the results will help to eliminate any fears that you may have had regarding the impact that reading other writers work may influence your own.

I beg you my phone…please leave me alone!!

My phone is all charged asleep in its dock

Just past the alarm reading 7 o’clock

Just enough time to get in the shower

The whole time wondering why I fed you your power

Getting up in the morning I expect great things

I’m so much like you until my phone rings

It rings and doesn’t quit until it’s up to my ear

It’s never out of my sight because without it I fear

It’s just after 8 when I can’t stop the ringing

The office, the doctors all the calls that it’s bringing

If just for a moment it would give me a break

No ringtones, no vibrating all the sounds I can’t take

My frustration grows as the day starts to pass

I wished it would just catch fire as I talk and pump gas

I don’t know why I answer I do have a choice

I’m forced to switch to texting because I am losing my voice

Monday thru Friday each day is the same

It taunts me and teases me like its some kind of game

Sometimes the screen stays blank for only what seems like a minute

Then right back it comes … my phone knows no limit

I say I don’t need you and try to pretend

I can’t take anymore and need this to end

Around 5 o’clock when my dinner time comes

The fork is a chore because of my sore texting thumbs

It has now been 5 minutes since the very last call

No messages, no texts have I talked to them all

9:30 p.m. they must all be in bed

Nope, I’m just lucky the battery went dead

Wonder if all this stress is affecting my health

Tomorrow will be different I promise myself

Back on your cradle as the day comes to an end

I complain about you often but you are my best friend