• Diana Wynne Jones and Philip K. Dick—both are major touchstones for the way they casually introduce mindblowingly big new things at moments you're not expecting, usually in ways that make me want to go back and reread the last few pages to see whether I missed something.
  • Daniel Handler's The Basic Eight does a similar thing in a major way, creating a breeziness that gradually gives way to hallucinatory horror.
  • Achewood, Charles Portis, and The Big Lebowski all have a languid way of telling their story, mixed with vividly colorful detail, that I find extremely appealing.
  • Tamora Pierce is probably the Jungian archetype lingering in the back of my head at all times.
  • Outer Wilds is basically the basic template for how branching stories ought to be told
  • Pathologic is still the only game that articulates the utmost extent to which a game's story can be told, while also showing how narrative and gameplay have to be enjambed together
  • [Twin Peaks][Twin Peaks]: The Return is the most sophisticated storytelling I've ever seen, full stop

let's leave that here for now