Friday, March 7, 2014

Must Reads for Aspiring Writers

     Over Christmas I had coffee with a friend of mine. At one point in our conversation she told me about her son who’d had more than his share of bad luck including spine surgery followed by a serious accident. In pain most of the time and unable to do many of the physical things he used to do, he was thinking about being a writer.
     I suggested he read through my blog—all the way back to when I started it forty-four posts ago. My friend then asked if there were any books about writing I could recommend to him. I knew exactly what to tell her, and the fact I could do so without hesitation made me realize I am taking this writing business more seriously than I thought.
     Neither of us had anything except a napkin to write on, so I whipped out one of my business cards and listed my three favorite writing books on the back of it. I hardly ever remember to hand out one of these little marketing tools, so I was pleased to find a use for one of them.
     Here are the books I wrote down. I have added their Amazon descriptions.

     The Elements of Style by William Strunk
     This book is intended for use in English courses in which the practice of composition is combined with the study of literature. It aims to give in brief space the principal requirements of plain English style. It aims to lighten the task of instructor and student by concentrating attention (in Chapters II and III) on a few essentials, the rules of usage and principles of composition most commonly violated. The numbers of the sections may be used as references in correcting manuscript.

     On Writing by Stephen King
     “Long live the King” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon publication of Stephen King’s On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999—and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it—fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.

     Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
     Think you've got a book inside of you? Anne Lamott isn't afraid to help you let it out. She'll help you find your passion and your voice, beginning from the first really crummy draft to the peculiar letdown of publication. Readers will be reminded of the energizing books of writer Natalie Goldberg and will be seduced by Lamott's witty take on the reality of a writer's life, which has little to do with literary parties and a lot to do with jealousy, writer's block and going for broke with each paragraph. Marvelously wise and best of all, great reading.

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