Exploring Influences: The Black Gryphon by Mercedes Lackey

As some of you may remember, I blogged last year about the various series I felt had earned a place on my influence map. I kept each paragraph brief, but there’s a lot more to say about each of them, so I decided to do a series of posts on the matter. Over the next few months, we’ll explore the different influences, one each Thursday, and I’ll share a bit about what it is that made an impact on my writing.
First up: The Black Gryphon.

The first book of my first and favorite series by Mercedes Lackey, The Black Gryphon introduced me to a lot of world-building concepts. The gryphons had their own unique backstory, the mages had a detailed and interesting power source for their magic, and the world was abound with its own fictional species.

Lots of fantasy books contain the old staples and standbys, orcs and elves and dwarves, even my own books do. But The Black Gryphon was the first I’d read where the author broke away from the traditional mythos and created a lot of their own races and bestiary.

It also introduced me to the idea of including artwork of characters, locations or special items at the chapter headers, something I definitely want to try when it comes time for my own fantasy books to see the light of day.

Both of these are things I’ve seen in other books and series since then, of course, but since this was my first exposure to the ideas, it’s what I’ll always remember the series for, and a strong reason it continues to influence my work.

Next week: The Wheel of Time.

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