It's funny how these things crop up. I was chatting to a friend of mine recently, and they mentioned watching a documentary about Terry Pratchett's Alzheimer's troubles. It reminded me that I love his writing and have read nearly all of his published works... but also that I have met the man.
It was at a Discworld convention of sorts, a good few years back now, probably 2002 or 2003. Anyway, I was queuing to get a book signed (The Colour of Magic) and when my turn came I asked him if he had any advice for a wannabe writer.
He thought for barely a second (hopefully a sign of this being a natural truth) before saying this:
"Pick a genre, and then don't read a single thing written in it."
...or at least words to that effect.
It doesn't take a genius to recognise what he was saying, and to this day I make an effort not to be influenced by other works that may share themes or other such similarities - and this applies to my efforts in games as well as writing.
Cheers Terry, I wish you all the comfort in the world.