What Author Do You Wish You Could Write Like?

 

When you think of all the authors you’ve read, who stands out the most to you as someone you would want to emulate in your own writing? I know we all want to write with our own unique style and bring something new to the world, but most of us have our favorites—those writers who inspire us.

While I have favorite authors across all genres, there are only a few I would like to emulate in style and expression. The one at the top of the list might surprise you. You might think I’d want to write like Ayn Rand or even Tolkien or C. S. Lewis (for those who know me), but the one author I’ve always adored is E. B. White.

White’s simplicity, purity, and sense of wonder captivate me. His style, technical skills, and ideas are in perfect harmony. Every word he chooses rings with a clarity of emotion that pulls you into his world. Reading White is like taking a swim in a cool river on a cloudless summer day.

White once wrote, “All that I hope to say in books, all that I ever hope to say, is that I love the world.”

This is beauty to me, and it’s why I love E. B. White. One of my goals in my writing is to express not only my thoughts, but my heart — to connect with others through my words, to fill the page with passion and wonder. In that sense, White is a kindred spirit.

If you could write like any author, who would it be?

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  1. user_138562 Moderator
    user_138562
    @RandyWeivoda

    I don’t try to emulate anyone when I write, but my literary hero is Mark Twain.  No one can string words together like he could.  I could list others who are also very good but Twain stands alone in my book.

    • #1
  2. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Gregory MacDonald, Terry Pratchett, and/or Douglas Adams: Their ability to combine wit & humour with compelling plots and fantastic settings floors me.

    • #2
  3. user_1938 Inactive
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    Dave, of course.

    Oh, and Shakespeare.

    Nothing like Boudreaux jokes in iambic pentameter. (That’s your cue, Dave.)

    • #3
  4. Larry3435 Member
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    For his incredibly prolific career, his ability (in his non-fiction) to explain the most complicated ideas so that anyone can understand them, and (in his fiction) to spin out yarns that were instant classics in their genre – Issac Asimov.
    For his ability to weave meticulously researched and detailed information into stories that are simply riveting – Tom Clancy.
    For capturing the sprawl of history, again without losing a thing from the story narrative – James Michener.
    For keeping me up until I finished the damn book because I just couldn’t put it down, Stephen King and Dean Koontz.
    For pure timelessness – Mark Twain.
    For constructing a story line so brilliant that, even after you’ve read it three times you still can’t figure out how he did it – John Barth.
    And for knowing that she just couldn’t top herself – Margaret Mitchell.

    • #4
  5. user_280840 Inactive
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    Count me as one of those people who wishes they could write like Ayn Rand.  I’d also like to write like Mario Puzo.

    And I was listening to Hitch-22 in audio form and wished I could write like Hitchens.

    • #5
  6. Suzanne Temple Inactive
    Suzanne Temple
    @SuzanneTemple

    Flannery O’Conner. Only two or three sentences into one of her short stories, and I’m hooked!

    • #6
  7. Son of Spengler Contributor
    Son of Spengler
    @SonofSpengler

    D.C. McAllister, of course. ;-)

    Andrew Ferguson leaves me thinking, “I wish I had written that.” Mark Steyn leaves me thinking, “How did he do that?!”

    Saki (H.H. Munro) had the most fantastic deadpan delivery, and leaves me in wonder every time I read him. Through the barest choice of words, he could communicate a situation or a character’s internal state.

    And I’ve always admired Mordechai Richler’s writing, though I consider his views to be simply evil. The fact that he was so good at his craft makes his manipulation of the reader that much worse.

    • #7
  8. jpark Member
    jpark
    @jpark

    Anthony Trollope and PG Wodehouse both write gracefully, in a way that looks effortless.

    • #8
  9. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    I’m surprised to find my answer to this question is Ken Follett, most especially his Eye Of The Needle although I’m not particularly keen on ‘thrillers’ and would be content to read Austen, Wharton, and Maugham forever. What I admire so about Follett is his remarkable ability to create suspense; I think he has a unique gift indeed.

    • #9
  10. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas
    @CUDouglas

    H. P. Lovecraft. Not just because he two uses two initials and a name.

    • #10
  11. user_554634 Moderator
    user_554634
    @MikeRapkoch

    H.L Mencken. Although I disagree with him on many things, his satire is some of the best around. Also Roger Scruton who writes both from the head and the heart.

    • #11
  12. user_138106 Member
    user_138106
    @LidensCheng

    W. Somerset Maugham.  Also Bill Bryson and Mark Steyn make writing seems so effortless.  

    • #12
  13. GLDIII Reagan
    GLDIII
    @GLDIII

    P.J. O’Rourke;   Anyone who could get me though the gist of “On The Wealth of Nations” while holding my interest and laughing about it is brilliant.

    However being an engineer, I know that my learning to write well is like teaching pigs to fly.

    • #13
  14. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Robert Ruark.
     “The hunter’s horn sounds early for some. . .later for others.For some unfortunates, prisoned by city sidewalks and sentenced to a cement jungle more horrifying than anything to be found in Tanganyika, the horn of the hunter never winds at all. But deep in the guts of most men, a prickle of the nape hairs, an acceleration of the pulse, an atavistic memory of his fathers, who killed first with stone, and then with club, and then with spear, and then with bow, and then with gun, and finally with formulae.How meek the man is of no importance; somewhere in the pigeon chest of the clerk is still the vestigial remnant of the hunter’s heart; somewhere in his nostrils the half-forgotten smell of blood. . .”

    • #14
  15. user_44643 Inactive
    user_44643
    @MikeLaRoche

    Dan Simmons, whose ability to weave history and fiction together is unrivaled by any contemporary writer.  His novel Flashback, published in 2011, should be required reading for any conservative.

    • #15
  16. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    Fred Cole:
    Count me as one of those people who wishes they could write like Ayn Rand.

    If only she had engaged a better editor for Atlas Shrugged

    • #16
  17. JavaMan Member
    JavaMan
    @JavaMan

    Off the top of my head two Marks and three Davids. Marks Twain and Steyn for their love of America and half hopeful/half despairing but always witty analysis of her eccentricities. Dave Carter for his uncommon, common man’s ruminations about life on the road. David Burge @Iowahawkblog the troubadour of Twitter who’s unmatched skill with 140 characters is a continual marvel and delight to me. Finally David the shepherd-king/psalmist ….because really try to think of a way to say it better?

    • #17
  18. user_280840 Inactive
    user_280840
    @FredCole

    EThompson:

    Fred Cole: Count me as one of those people who wishes they could write like Ayn Rand.

    If only she had engaged a better editor for Atlas Shrugged!

     Ayn Rand was a remarkable woman and a woman of… strong opinions.  Can you imagine being her editor?  Going through the book line by line with her?  Fighting over every word?

    Whoever did it deserves a medal or heroism.

    Also, I should point out that Rand wrote in English, which was not her first language.

    • #18
  19. user_340536 Member
    user_340536
    @ShaneMcGuire

    Were I an essayist, Mark Steyn.

    Were I a novelist, Walker Percy.

    Were I a poet . . . I dunno, but I wish I were a poet.

    • #19
  20. user_340536 Member
    user_340536
    @ShaneMcGuire

    Fred Cole:

    EThompson:

    Fred Cole: Count me as one of those people who wishes they could write like Ayn Rand.

    If only she had engaged a better editor for Atlas Shrugged!

    Ayn Rand was a remarkable woman and a woman of… strong opinions. Can you imagine being her editor? Going through the book line by line with her? Fighting over every word?
    Whoever did it deserves a medal or heroism.
    Also, I should point out that Rand wrote in English, which was not her first language.

     Isn’t engaging in the writing process part of being a great writer? Rand could write, for sure. And write. And write. And write. And write. And write. Was that repetitive? Kind of like John Galt’s speech, no?

    • #20
  21. TeamAmerica Member
    TeamAmerica
    @TeamAmerica

    For sci-fi writing-Douglas Adams for humor and satire, Aussie John Birmingham for gripping alternative histories with realistic depictions of historic figures. Mark Steyn and Jonah Goldberg for political satire, and  our D.C. for depth of insight.

    • #21
  22. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    Pls excuse 402 Gateway error. :)

    • #22
  23. D.C. McAllister Inactive
    D.C. McAllister
    @DCMcAllister

    DocJay:
    Robert Ruark. ”The hunter’s horn sounds early for some. . .later for others.For some unfortunates, prisoned by city sidewalks and sentenced to a cement jungle more horrifying than anything to be found in Tanganyika, the horn of the hunter never winds at all. But deep in the guts of most men, a prickle of the nape hairs, an acceleration of the pulse, an atavistic memory of his fathers, who killed first with stone, and then with club, and then with spear, and then with bow, and then with gun, and finally with formulae.How meek the man is of no importance; somewhere in the pigeon chest of the clerk is still the vestigial remnant of the hunter’s heart; somewhere in his nostrils the half-forgotten smell of blood. . .”

     I think I need to take a cold shower after reading that. 

    • #23
  24. D.C. McAllister Inactive
    D.C. McAllister
    @DCMcAllister

    Son of Spengler:
    D.C. McAllister, of course. ;-)
    Andrew Ferguson leaves me thinking, “I wish I had written that.” Mark Steyn leaves me thinking, “How did he do that?!”
    Saki (H.H. Munro) had the most fantastic deadpan delivery, and leaves me in wonder every time I read him. Through the barest choice of words, he could communicate a situation or a character’s internal state.
    And I’ve always admired Mordechai Richler’s writing, though I consider his views to be simply evil. The fact that he was so good at his craft makes his manipulation of the reader that much worse.

     Charmer. :)

    • #24
  25. EThompson Inactive
    EThompson
    @EThompson

    Fred Cole:

    EThompson:

    Fred Cole: Count me as one of those people who wishes they could write like Ayn Rand.

    If only she had engaged a better editor for Atlas Shrugged!

    Ayn Rand was a remarkable woman and a woman of… strong opinions. Can you imagine being her editor? Going through the book line by line with her? Fighting over every word?
    Whoever did it deserves a medal or heroism.
    Also, I should point out that Rand wrote in English, which was not her first language.

     Agree, but surely wish Atlas Shrugged had been as accessible to me in middle school as was Fountainhead.

    • #25
  26. D.C. McAllister Inactive
    D.C. McAllister
    @DCMcAllister

    TeamAmerica:
    For sci-fi writing-Douglas Adams for humor and satire, Aussie John Birmingham for gripping alternative histories with realistic depictions of historic figures. Mark Steyn and Jonah Goldberg for political satire, and our D.C. for depth of insight.

     Thank you, TeamAmerica. That is very kind of you to say.

    • #26
  27. flownover Inactive
    flownover
    @flownover

    If it’s history, then I would hope to match Paul Johnson.

    If it’s mystery , there’s no one like Raymond Chandler  (” It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window.” ) And in the comedy department, I’ll take Evelyn Waugh.

    • #27
  28. DrewInWisconsin Member
    DrewInWisconsin
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Suzanne Temple:
    Flannery O’Conner. Only two or three sentences into one of her short stories, and I’m hooked!

    Flannery O’Connor has had (and possibly continues to have) an effect on my writing. There was a period in my twenties when I was writing a lot of short fiction, and I worried that I was sounding too much like I was purposefully mimicking O’Connor. She has a unique and identifiable voice.

    • #28
  29. D.C. McAllister Inactive
    D.C. McAllister
    @DCMcAllister

    flownover:
    If it’s history, then I would hope to match Paul Johnson.
    If it’s mystery , there’s no one like Raymond Chandler (” It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window.” ) And in the comedy department, I’ll take Evelyn Waugh.

     The Intellectuals is one of my favorite books. I’d rather read Johnson’s history  books than anyone’s  

    • #29
  30. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Only one author I would want to be like.  Hemingway.  If only he didn’t fight for communists . . .

    • #30
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