The most recent experience I've had with this feeling isn't from a book at all. It's from
I saw Inception last week, and I left the theater with one thought in my head:
The level of ingenuity and depth of emotion in the storytelling of the film blew my mind. It really just sort of stopped me in my tracks and I thought about the plot issues I was having with my current (and what feels like, the millionth) revision and it all seemed so small and silly. I realized not just that I needed to up my game, but HOW MUCH I needed to up it. Somehow I'd slipped into playing it safe, and safe = boring and seen it before. So I took a step back and started really ripping my tiny little impersonation of a book apart and all of a sudden I was excited about revising it again!
There are other books I keep in mind when writing as touchstones. Books that when I'm in a good mood, inspire me to attempt to reach some of their greatness and on a bad day thrust me into the pit of despair as I think I will NEVER write anything that good!
Some of those books are:
The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling - because Jo Rowling's world-building and heart blow my mind every time I read one of the books.
The Hunger Games & Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins - again, the world-building! The action! The emotion! Even now I get teary-eyed when I think about Rue!
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater - I love how poetic the writing is, the emotion, the sense of place, and the way she made two narrators such complete unique characters that you always know who's talking. I especially love that she created her own mythology.
Stolen by Lucy Christopher - This story is so emotionally complex and moving, it still haunts me. And the detail to setting is so good that every time I think about it, I feel like I'm in the desert of the Austrailian Outback. I can completely see a place I've never been or even seen photos of.
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver - I love the way she makes the ordinary beautiful in this book. The actual prose is beautiful and very poetic but it's also the way Sam observes things. I also love that she made very real, three-dimensional characters who could be unlikeable at times and made me care about them.
All of these books (and SO MANY more) do things that I hope to do in my own stories and they remind me that it IS possible to do if I just keep my focus on the goal. Also, I've just realized that all of these books have made me cry! I guess that's what sticks with me. And that's what I want to do, tell stories that stick with you.
What are some books that inspire you?