Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Long Live the King!

My all time favorite book on writing is called, oddly enough, ON WRITING. Stephen King wrote it. It’s a combination of autobiography and instruction, seasoned with inspiration. King’s personal journey is fascinating and his common sense approach to writing is nothing short of empowering. I’ve read it through several times and every once and awhile I pick it up and reread portions of it.

One section of his book is called simply – Toolbox. King says “I want to suggest that to write to your best abilities, it behooves you to construct your own toolbox and then build up enough muscle so you can carry it with you.”

Tools include vocabulary, grammar and elements of style. My toolbox is packed. The Synonym Finder for vocabulary and Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style are just two. I own somewhere around thirty books on writing.

But there’s another tool that may be more important. Reading for pleasure. We soak up a lot of knowledge by reading. As King says “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” He reads for the same reason I do. He likes it. But there’s a learning process going on as well and even the bad books teach us something.

Last week I blogged about not having enough time to read. This morning Stephen King gave me a kick in the butt – figuratively speaking. Long live the King!

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Riley Quinn said...

Interesting post, Gale. My library has a swap area and I actually found King's book there and picked it up, though I haven't read it yet. I think I may be taking it on the plane with me.

Gale Stanley said...

I think you'd like it Riley. He includes a chapter he wrote and how he revised it. There's also an inspiring postscript about the injuries he suffered when he was hit by a car. Good stuff.