Monday, September 8, 2014

On Writing Right

Stephen King is extraordinary, a master storyteller. Back around 1986, I read my first Stephen King book, Pet Sematary, a gripping novel that kept me up late at night turning pages. When I'd force myself to go to sleep, I kept the lights on. Even after I finished reading it, I slept with the lights on for two weeks afterward.

Well, I'm glad to report that over 20 years later, I'm finally reading my second Stephen King book! One that won't scare the living daylights out of me, but will allow me to sleep with the lights out. Today I started King's On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. Although his horror novels scare me too much to read, he is a true master of the craft and I'm looking forward to what I'll learn.

In his Second Foreword, King states that his book is short because "most books about writing are filled with bull****." He notes that one "notable exception to the bull**** rule is The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White." He goes on to say that there is little or no detectable bull**** in that book.

After reading Mr. King's statement about books on writing, I thought I'd share a few of my favorites--and they're short with no detectable waste products:

The Elements of Style is a must read for anyone who's serious about writing. Before even starting a novel, read and re-read Chapter 5: An Approach to Style. It'll save you from many common mistakes of first time authors.

On Writing Romance: How to Craft a Novel that Sells by Leigh Michaels is an excellent writer's resource. Even if you're not a romance writer, Ms. Michaels offers helpful advice that can apply to all genres. In the appendices, she includes helpful information on crafting query letters, synopses, and cover letters.

Robert's Rules of Writing101 Unconventional Lessons Every Writer Needs to Know by Robert Masello provides useful instruction pertaining to novels, screenplays, stage plays, memoirs, periodical articles, and non-fiction. Each rule (ranging from 1-3 pages) is jam packed with excellent advice that will improve your work--and leave you feeling like you can write anything!

What are some of your favorite books on the writing craft?

Reprinted from April 15, 2010. I have since completed the book and I highly recommend!


William Kendall said...

Thanks for pointing these books out, Maria. I will have to check into them.

I have read a few of King's books, though I'm not really into his usual genre.

shelly said...

I read his book 'On Writing' on an airplane going to Israel a few years back.

Norma Beishir said...

I have this book on Audible--love it!

The Spooky Whisk said...

That is one of King's best books. We've read it over and over and listened to it on tape, even. Back when tapes were still sold.

Happy Writing & Boogie Boogie.

Maria McKenzie said...

@William: On Writing is really wonderful. I'm not really into horror, but King does keep the pages turning!

@Shelly: You probably remember a trip like that a lot better than the book you read;).

@Norma: I might get it on Audible! It's worth reading, or hearing, more than once:).

@Spooky: Sounds like it's time for you to invest in Audible version, too!

The Spooky Whisk said...

Oh no, we won't spend full-price on something we already have in tape form, and in book form.

Maria McKenzie said...

Good point;)!