Author has written 9 stories for Avatar: Last Airbender, and Shadow of the Colossus.
A writer by trade and a writer by design, I write therefore I am. Most of my stuff is original, but it's so fun and cathartic to render existing worlds in your own imagination. I always wish for pie and bacon and would hate world peace, because then their would be nothing to write about. If you'd like to collaborate, oh reader that is writer, too, I'd be more than willing to smash my brain into yours and see the mess it makes.
If I were you, you would love:
Books by Terry Pratchett - Soul Music in particular
Comics written by Alan Moore - Watchmen is awe inspiring, but Promethea will change your life
Films by Akira Kurosawa - Yojimbo, Seventh Samurai, et al
Films by Hayao Miyazaki - Princess Mononoke in particular
Plays by Arthur Miller
Poems by T. S. Eliot, Langston Hughes, Robert Frost, William Blake
Music by Richard Wagner, Richard Strauss, Gustav Mahler, Ludwig van Beethoven, P. I. Tchaikovsky, John Williams, Danny Elfman
Stories by Ernest Hemingway, Sherman Alexie
What is Art?
I have this discussion with everybody I know and it's a tough one. I read a piece by a visual artist and he remarked on how people complain about how he charges so much for his marvelously crafted commissions. They ask, "How can you charge so much for something that took you only a few hours to do?" The artist's response was, "It takes me a few hours to create the piece, but it's taken me fifteen years to become good enough to do it that fast and that well."
I think that work we do behind the scenes is what makes our pieces great. It was S. Coleridge who said something like, "I don't trust anyone who has written more than they have read." I think that's pretty safe, especially in this day and age. We are bombarded by text every minute of every day, like you're being bombarded right now. I would focus the rule and say that for every novel that you write, there should be at least twenty texts (short stories, novellas, fics, manuals, etc.) behind your work.
Lennon sang, "There's nothing you can do that can't be done," and truer words were never uttered. However, Art doesn't have to be "new." Working from the principle of twenty works behind one and years of study behind hours of work, we come to the conclusion that Art is not a creation proper, but a synthesis of the works that came before it, filtered through your own personal experience and perspective. Really, the only unique thing in your work is the slant you put on it. There may be people like you out there, but you are the only "you" in existence. That slant is what will make your works different and the significance of the old ideas will ring anew on the vibrato of your voice.
Without that respect for the history of your craft, you get trash. In modern times, Art has devolved into something less about the creation and more about the creator. It's endemic to our society (I'm speaking about America in particular, but it is a human flaw). It's idol worship. Quality isn't even necessary anymore. You paint a single black dot on a canvas and call it Art and people will pay out the nose for it because they can say to their friends, "Look, I own a Richard Solipsistic original!"
I can live with this stuff, mind you, because it doesn't hurt anybody, like a pile of dog crap in the middle of a grassy field. Even if you're unlucky enough to step in it, you can just wipe it off and saunter on through life. What I can't abide is so called Art that hurts. A Russian "artist" once tied up a dog in front of a gallery, left it to starve to death and he called it a work of Art. It certainly makes a statement, but the statement is just "we are such bad people; look how nobody helped the poor dog." Destruction is not Art and when all you're doing is stating a time worn fact about human nature or whatever, you're wasting effort.
Art can't just draw attention to something. That's just reporting. Art must take sides, draw lines and, in the end, cause everyone involved to change their perspective. That is Art. It's hard and not particularly friendly, but it's for the best. As the great Alan Moore once said, "I don't want people to agree with me. I want them to think."
Peace be with you.