Writers are often begin as dedicated readers. This is the nice way of saying we were those weird, pasty kids who stayed inside all day with a book while everyone else made friends and went outside.
I searched for “chubby kid reading a book” and Google apparently translated that into Macaulay Culkin’s mug shot.
So yeah. There you go.
As you read, you start to collect a list of your favorite writers and, conscious or not, these are the writers that will influence your writing style. Even more than that, these authors can change your life. So, I have compiled an incomplete list of popular authors and what they say about you both as a writer and as a person.
Hunter S. Thompson
As a Writer: You will spend your life trying to recreate Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas but alas—you are not Thompson. You lack the talent and the drug tolerance to even come close.
As a Person: You probably have a stupid tattoo. I’m looking at you, hipsters.
You know who you are and what you’ve done.
As a Writer: You’re not afraid to be imaginative and, like Rowling, strive for complete storytelling without loose ends.
As a Person: You somewhat ignored Casual Vacancy and are still hoping Rowling is going to add books to the Potter-verse (Dumbledore’s life story, the Harry Potter books rewritten from Snape’s perspective, etc.).
As a Writer: You don’t really “write” in any physical sense but “guys, listen, I’ve got this great idea for a book. It’s based on my life.”
As a Person: You read To Kill a Mockingbird in ninth grade and haven’t read another book since.
As a Writer: You are a minimalist and try to make the most of as few words as possible. Your male protagonists often enjoy spending time alone in the woods.
As a Person: You once tried to smoke an imitation Cuban cigar but accidentally inhaled which made you cough so hard you threw up. When asked, however, you often describe your free time as filled with cigars and hard liquor.
As a Writer: Your writing would probably best be characterized as romance or chick lit in which every male love interest is, in some way, a version of Mr. Darcy.
As a Person: You love the BBC and hope to someday find your own Mr. Darcy. Sure, there are other books and other love interests but who gives a crap, they’re not Mr. Darcy.
You also have lots of cats.
One of the Bronte Sisters
As a Writer: You yearn to emulate the feel of the English language from the Victorian era: women succumbing to the vapors, the mists on the moor at dawn, etc. Unfortunately, no one really talks like that anymore and it sounds like you’re trying too hard. Stop it.
As a Person: Mr. Rochester is your ultimate literary crush and you swear your boyfriend is so romantic and just like him! To the rest of us, he’s a douche who won’t bend the brim of his hat and once locked his ex in the closet to keep her from setting his mom’s house on fire.
To be fair, she was kind of a crazy ho.
Also, never ever ever Google “little girl house fire.”
As a Writer: You spend more time cultivating your mustache than actually writing.
Your primary writing exercise involves trying to turn your name into a self-portrait.
As a Person: You probably have one of three things tattooed on you: “everything was beautiful and nothing hurt,” “so it goes,” or an asshole.
As a Writer: You have an attention to detail that rivals Howard Hughes’s OCD.
As a Person: You’re that guy at the party who tells forty-five minute stories. They’re interesting enough, but dude, learn to chitchat and stop blocking the veggie platter.
As a Writer: You have a great talent for character-driven stories and your gift has you poised to be the Next Great American Writer. You are Brilliant with a capital B.
Oh hey, look what’s available from Barnes & Noble . . .
Hintety hint hint.
As a Person: You are the author of this column, Lana Del Ray, or over fifty-years old.
As a Writer: You have a “burn and turn” approach to writing, which is to say you pump out as many books as possible that all have the same storyline. However, this will probably work out for you financially. I mean, look at John Grisham and James Patterson.
As a Person: You’re my dad. And you hate Tom Cruise.
If I didn’t include your favorite author on this round, don’t worry. I’ll get you next time.
Written by: Emily Regan