Friday, March 6, 2015

Classic Word Painters

I’m absolutely certain I don’t have to encourage Word Painters readers to make good books a regular, if not daily, habit. We just enjoy it so much; reading comes with living! Of course, a vital part of any writer’s practice is reading, so it’s always fun to excuse our favorite leisure activity by saying “it’s research.”

What does reading those good books do for your writing? It varies from writer to writer. Some absorb the “how-to” of writing simply by devouring book after book, arriving naturally at understanding how to craft a story; others learn everything about how to write by poring over such manuals; while others are a mixture.

With that background, I wanted to take time to mention a few older authors whom I admire and seek to emulate in my writing. Each of them have different strengths that inspire me. (I have a long ways to go, though, if I really want to be like any of them!)

The Lord God … The story He’s authored is the greatest story ever told. Conflict happens, but there is a happy ending. And strictly speaking of the Bible, the writing is breathtakingly beautiful, and every word has purpose!

Jane Austen … Her young heroines are relatable yet unique, and all her characters are defined and different from one another. She writes about relationships between all sorts of people, reiterating the importance of our everyday interactions.

Elizabeth Gaskell … This Victorian novelist took a balanced approach to all her characters and their personalities and social beliefs, which succeeds in making them like real-life individuals. It also encourages readers to take the time to understand people who are different from them.

L. M. Montgomery … Her poetic scenery descriptions steal my breath every time I read them.

Mark Twain … His beautiful writing and precise choice of words is spectacular.

Louisa May Alcott … She deftly weaves morality and thought-provoking life lessons into her endearing characters’ stories. Though not action-packed, they focus on the significance of life choices.

Lisa Wingate … I included one modern author in this list, because obviously there are amazing writers nowadays! She writes contemporary stories that prove to be page-turners without being strict romances or suspense. Her incredible details testify to the depth of research she puts into each book.

Catherine Marshall … She’s a Christian writer who doesn’t stop at the surface-level of spirituality; her characters really seek after God.

Elizabeth Goudge … She has a lovely way with language; her descriptions are like word paintings. Also, she weaves in deep spiritual insights that we learn through the lives of her characters.

What authors do you admire and seek to emulate? How do they inspire your writing? Classic or modern, we will find many to glean from. I could think of at least twenty more who inspire me!

Kelsey Bryant is an author, blogger, and copy editor who loves the Lord. She revels in many things: the beauty of God's Word, the music of English, the wonder of nature, the joy of creativity, the freedom of motion, the richness of literature, the intrigue of history ... and much more. To learn more about her, visit her website or blog.  


  1. A top one on my list recently has been George MacDonald. I've been reading the abridged versions edited by Michael Phillips, but he still keeps a lot of the original story in it. What I like most about those books is how there is always a character who is seeking/or eventually finds God. Definitely worthwhile to read.

    1. Ah, he is a good one! My mom read most of the versions edited by Phillips, and I've read two of them. (I should read more of them. :) ) They are powerful stories of seeking God. Thank you for the recommendation!

  2. I'd have to say my top favorite author of all times is Isabella McDonald Alden "Pansy." Her characters are so real (maybe because they are based on real people) and their everyday life experiences just have a way of touching my life. I love that her stories, though not at all what you would call "preachy" are so based and structured around God's Word and His Truths.

    1. Good choice! I've read one book by her and it really touched me as well. That is also a great explanation of why she is such a valuable author. Thanks for your comment!


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