Today, I try to read a lot more than one sub-genre. Every now and then I even break out of fantasy! But in the beginning I started with Terry Brooks, J.R.R. Tolkien, Terry Goodkind, Robert Jordan. Later, I moved on the darker, more mature fantasy; George R. R. Martin, Stephen R. Donaldson, a whole bunch of stuff I shouldn’t have been reading at that age. Then something big happened.
Jim Butcher. The Dresden Files is a masterpiece. And it brought me into urban fantasy. Along with Steven Brust, Patrick Rothfuss, Steven King, and all the others above, it is probably the biggest influence on my story.
Here’s the point; this is the third manuscript I have begun. The first I have completed. There were other stories in between, shorts or whatever the hell the video game version of a screen play is (That was before I realized what screenplays were or that video games are largely just plots and characters stapled to mechanics).
The first was a high fantasy, the second was a dark fantasy, and this was would be most identifiable with an urban fantasy. I worked on the first a couple years, never got past chapter seven. Wow. The second I worked on for a little less and got a few chapters farther, but with a full outline and lot of world building.
Look at what I was reading, then what I wrote, I think you’ll see the connection.
What I was into at the time greatly influenced what I wrote. There is a reason they tell writers to read. This can be good and bad. I love all the authors listed above, but I want my story to be my story.
The reason I didn’t get very far with the first two stories is because I was trying to do my version of those stories. Even now, the Dresden Files made me want to write more than anything else, and I immediately jumped into an urban fantasy.
Your influences are spices. They flavor the dish, but you have to bring something to the table. With my story, I worked hard to create my own ideas, my own world, allowing my influences to season the dish, to accentuate its flavor but not lose it.