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Can watching Game of Thrones influence your writing?

Game of ThronesI’m a little late to the game, but I’m just about to finish watching season 8 of Game of Thrones. After I finished watching episode 4, I wondered if the consumption of a popular fantasy franchise like Game of Thrones would influence my own writing?

Soon I will begin the brainstorming phase of my fifth novel in my Taesian Chronicles series. I typically spend a month, maybe two, writing down creative ideas for plot and characters, then I spend another month refining that into a plot event list (outline). Primary composition usually starts about 4-5 months after the initial ideas start percolating in my brain.

Once I begin writing, I avoid watching TV shows or movies in the fantasy genre, and I read only non-fiction until the book is completed. This is to ensure my creativity is not tainted or unduly influenced by the creative work of others.

Imagine trying to think of one song while listening to another.

Obviously, my creative ideas are influenced in a general sense by the TV, books, and movies I’ve consumed in my life. This is unavoidable. Sometimes I add elements to my stories that are deliberate homages to beloved books or characters from my past. Other times, I knowingly take inspiration from other author’s or filmmaker’s works. My first book, Ohlen’s Arrow, has a particular pace that I felt inspired to honor from Gayle Rivers’ The Five Fingers.

If you are a writer, have you found yourself being influenced by popular media like Game of Thrones? What do you do to fight off unwanted influence by the creativity of others? Or do you knowingly embrace — and perhaps extend — it?

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