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There are some authors which seem to be so good, so on top of the game, that they are the only ones that get talked about. I have noticed that a lot of them are good at one aspect of writing. So below are going to be a short list of authors which I feel are the best and what they are the best at. Most of them are going to be for horror and suspense, but there may be a few which are just classic writers who have made such an indelible mark on writing they cannot be over looked.
1) H. P. Lovecraft: Let's start off with one of the masters of modern horror. In fact, without this man we wouldn't be writing creepypasta the way we do. He is most know for the mythos hey created, the Cthulhu Mythos. He had given the world some of the most outrageous monsters; from huge cylinder shaped creatures with heads shaped as a star, to an entire city of monsters which live under the ocean and can communicate with humans telepathically.
Now, Lovecraft is rather wordy and used a lot of arcane words. If you decide to read some of his works, it may be a good idea to have a dictionary near by. But he is also the best, out of everyone I've ever read, at giving a description of something. Once you clear up the words like "cyclopean" you will know exactly what he was trying to show you. And there is more than one case where it feels like he is just rambling on about something, but if you understand all the old words he used than, it will be crystal clear on what was being said.
Personally, I don't care to describe everything in such detail, but it works for him. Check out some of his stories and you will see that he can describe something so well you don't even need to question what it looks like.
2) Charles Dickens: If there was ever someone who should be on a list of best authors it is Charles Dickens. It has been well over one hundred years since he died and still we cannot get enough of A Christmas Carol. He makes this list because, I fell, he is best with dialogue. Even though the language is a little old, he can make people talk like normal people better than most.
Take a Tale of Two Cities, every person in that story doesn't fell like they are forced to speak in any way than they would speak if they were real. Although he has a tendency to have some run-on sentences, he is a master of the craft and it shows the most when he is making people talk to one another.
3) Stephen King: Yes, I know. So many people hate Stephen King for something or another. But he is the best at building characters. Not all of his characters are so well fleshed out, and at some points that is his weak point. But when it comes to main characters, that aren't bullies, they are on point.
Mr. King has found a way to make everything the character thinks, knows and does interesting. In fact, that is what most of his books are about. Not the monsters or killers or whatever, it is about interpersonal relationships. Rage, The Shining, Pet Cemetery (I spelt that correctly, which means it is spelt incorrectly for the title,) and damn near every other story he has ever written is about the people.
He deals with emotion and thought better than anyone I've ever read. Because of this, his novels tend to be on the long side. Although most of the story is about emotion, and a lot of it could be cut out to make the story scarier, it is never dull. So the king of characters is King.
4) Dean Koontz: I love Kean Koontz. He may well be my favorite author, so if I didn't include him here that would be a little upsetting to me. And I feel he is the best with technical skill. He knows how to weave a story, keep the flow steady, and get his punches in without doing anything other that what he wants to.
A story by Koontz will always flow smoothly. He doesn't even take a chance with boring you, like other authors on this list are guilty of. Granted, a lot of his stories seem to fallow the same pattern, he still is a great author. He knows how to deliver suspense when it is needed and when he does his stranger stories, such as 77 Shadow Street, Tick Tock, or The Taking no one else on this list can touch him.
5) This is more of a runner up, but hell he knows how to turn writing protocol on its head. Mark Z Danielewski, can write some really strange things. Best known for House of Leaves, a novel which is so complex, it is unlike anything you will ever read again. The formula for writing is not something he fallows to the T, but he is able to write something that will last with the reader for a long, long time.
There are some other authors which are really good at the craft that just don't seem to have enough to really be with our top five. So, I will put them below with the category they would fit best in.
Bob Curran - Best for Folklore
J. K. Rowling - Best Consistency
George R. R. Martain - Best World Building and Twists
Alfred Hitcock - Best for Suspense (yes he had written novels before movies, I have a first addition of his series and it is one of my dearest possessions.)
Donald Tyson - Best for Revamping of Stories. (He basically continues on H. P. Lovecraft's mythos.)
So, I hope you liked this list and if you are looking for inspirations, these authors my be the ones to look into. I know that I still learn from each and every one of the above authors on how to make my writing better. I try and get on the same level as them, although I am not at that point yet. But I think we all have a goal like that when it comes to writing. Maybe not with the same authors, but the same basic ideas.