Thursday, March 13, 2008

On Reading On Writing

I have read one Stephen King novel. I liked it until the very end, when I discovered that his ending was not what I would have wanted. Books can be like that. Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible could have ended before the end when we learned what happened to the family after they fled. I didn't need that closure. I liked the raw wondering (except it wasn't the end, but I would have stopped it there).

Because I want to move to the next stage of writing, meaning getting published, I read more and more editors, agents, and writing advice columnists. Most people point aspiring writers to Stephen King's On Writing. I got a copy. I fought with my husband over who got to read it at night. Usually, he won as I had my own writing to do and he's in a slow spot.

If you write anything, read this book. I find it fabulous. I don't want to put it down as the advice is clear, presented in an entertaining manner, and useful. Then, I put the book on the nightstand and write. That's what the book has done for me--made me want to write as fast as I can. Yes, kids, the house, and the leaking tub get in the way. Yet, I am inspired again to write.

If you need a tool to get you writing or to improve your mindset about writing, buy this book or find it in the library. While you are there, you might want to pick up a used copy of Warriner's English Composition and Grammar. Stephen King recommends it. Grammar is not difficult to learn. He gives you great reasons why you can learn it. Oops, The Elements of Style, get one of those, too.


Ami said...

Glad you liked it :)

Another good book is Orson Scott Card's "Character and Viewpoint".

And I'm starting Story by Robert McKee. It is aimed at screenwriters but works for any kind of storyteller. Really great. This one is going to get marked and reread by me.

jmb said...

This book has been recommended to me many times but since I do not care for Stephen King I have resisted. Do you think it could turn me into a writer? I will buy it and see.

Luckily grammar is not a problem for me since I have studied it extensively, English as well as Italian and French. There is nothing like learning a foreign language to help you learn English grammar. That said I am probably a bit of a pedant.

Sarabeth said...

JMB, because you blog, you pass the test for being a writer. So, you would probably benefit from reading this book. Even if you didn't, you would enjoy the short book.

Ami, I will stay away from other writing books presently. I become both enthusiastic and depressed after reading the words. It's instant bipolar disorder. I must write, yet the thought that I will not find a publisher hangs on like a whining toddler.

Tara R. said...

I have a copy of 'Elements of Style' and my old college edition of Harbrace Manual (guess it would take the place of Warriner's.) I should get King's book. Thanks for the reminder.

Chuck said...

Agreed. King's book is very well done and sound advice. Thanks for the reminder.