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I have seen posts that touch on favorite authors, but I thought it would be interesting to have a post devoted to writers who have most influenced you, what I think of as a writer's writer. For me, Graham Greene is exemplifies this, especially with his END OF THE AFFAIR, where the main character discusses his writing process. But I also think of someone like Wodehouse and how he would pin the pages of his manuscript up on his walls, moving each one up the wall as it got cleaner and tighter. Or Flaubert who would start writing a new book the day he finished one. Or even Elmore Leonard for his gritty, real dialogue that feels like he just sat on the sidewalk and wrote what people said as they passed him.

Who are the writers you have learned the most from and who you read over and over to understand their craft?
 

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Graham Greene and Elmore Leonard, definitely.

I love Dennis Lehane.  Michael Connelly and James Lee Burke come to mind, as well.  And Larry McMurtry...
 

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J. Carson Black said:
Graham Greene and Elmore Leonard, definitely.

I love Dennis Lehane. Michael Connelly and James Lee Burke come to mind, as well. And Larry McMurtry...
I love Lehane, Leonard, and Burke. I especially love Leonard because he writes in third-person and I get tired of crime and mystery being in first-person so much.

Other favorites of mine are Tim Powers, James Blaylock, and Neil Gaiman.
 

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John Kennedy Toole, Hunter S. Thompson 1970-1973, and Evelyn Waugh (pre-Brideshead).
 

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Norah Lofts. I read her House trilogy back in the 1960s when I was in my early 20s and had been reading "they lived happily ever after" books for years. Lofts introduced me to the notions that a) stories don't often work out the way we'd like, and b) a bittersweet story can be more gripping (and stay with you longer) than a sweet-sweet tale.

Rex Stout. Love, love, love his Nero Wolfe mysteries and re-read them periodically.
 

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Donald Westlake
P. G. Wodehouse

There are a lot more, but I think the devotion to craft without the hubris of the literary writer (i.e. they did their time and wrote for pulps) made them the premiere stylists.  They could write circles around anyone.

Camille
 

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James Lee Burke, Graham Greene, William Goldman, Dennis Lehane, Laura Lippman, George Pelecanos, Ross Macdonald... I could go on and on. Any writer can learn so much from reading the greats.
 

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For me, there's no question... Stephen King.

There are other writers I admire also, but I am his student more clearly than I am a student of any other writer.
 

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I'm with Jeff, too many to list, but here's a few names:

Teleplays: Rod Serling
Short stories: Ray Bradbury, Roald Dahl ("Lamb to the Slaughter"), Stephen King
Novels: Robert McCammon, Stephen King

Sidenote: earlier today I was starstruck when Mr. McCammon to one of my Twitter messages! Being that Stephen King frequently says good things about McCammon's work, I feel the degrees of separation shrinking.

This is a new world where an increasing number of writer's writers are working among us. What a wonderful time to be a writer (and reader) :)
 

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I'll second King (or third him), who should have been on my list in the first place. One of the best we've got working today.
 

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I think that a lot of fantasy authors have probably affected my writing the most because of the whole feeling of being on a journey and changing because of the story.  As such, I'd include Peter S. Beagle, Terry Brooks, C.S. Lewis, and Jane Yolen.
 

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Malcolm Gladwell
Steven Johnson
Dan Ariely - (believe it or not)... :)

They are rather contemporary, but I dig their writing styles.
 

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A writer's writer?

For different reasons:

Stephen King, Truman Capote, Hemingway, Milton, Shakespeare, Shirley Jackson, Dumas, Tolstoy ... I could go on.
 

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Patricia Highsmith. I've been studying her novel for a couple of years now, reading them over and over again. I find them impossible to put down, and I'm trying to capture her voice, and the way she follows her characters through the minutia of every day situations, while all the time you feel a dark sense of foreboding.
 
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There are so many for me, if the question is who has influenced my writing. Raymond Chandler most of all for my mysteries. Alice Munro, Hemingway for my literary fiction. But there's one writer who stands above the rest,

Samuel Langhorne Clemens
aka
Mark Twain

"Be good and you'll be lonesome"
 
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