Oh, the humanity: Am I the only writer who fears he’s lost the magic every time he sits down at a keyboard? Ah, but then what made me think I had any magic to begin with? Writers wear two colognes, “l’insecurite” and “l’arrogance,” and never have to purchase either one–they’re pheromones. “Writers rush in where […]
I’m not sure who amassed this large alphabetical list of interesting words (I couldn’t find a citation on the post) but as writers, I thought you’d like to see the list. I’m always looking for interesting words. But be careful – don’t use too many in one piece. Everything in moderation, people. 🙂
If you’re a writer, I hope you’re also a reader. I know I am. And I’m not just talking about reading books in the genre that you write it. I also mean books about improving your craft.
I’ve been doing this a while now, so I’ve been to writing workshops or weekend writer events and I’ve gotten lots of suggestions about what to read. I’ve shared some of these books with you in the past: The Writer’s Journey, Techniques of the Selling Writer, Take Your Character to Lunch, Writing Dialogue, Eats, Shoots and Leaves, Woe is I are all some of my favorites. Story by Robert McKee is good if you feel like picking apart you story, but as a book, it’s a bit hard to read. And I continue to write down titles of books I want to take a look at.
Alinka, in this post (The 10 books every successful author needs to read) mentions the book On Writing by Stephen King which I also read. It’s an interesting book, if you want to learn a bit (and just a bit) about how Stephen writes, but it’s more about him and his writing philosophy. She also mentions Bird by Bird, which I also read, but didn’t get a lot from it. It’s a book that is a bit hard to describe. The author talks about writing and hanging in there with your writing but that’s about all I remember. Some people really like that book, though, so don’t just go off of my opinion.
Kudos, Damyanti, for sticking up for common decency. If James’ writing is bad, then don’t buy her book or read her book. None of this shameless, personless online degrading. We aren’t in 5th grade people. Lets discuss poor writing in a better forum than in a bully tweet.
p.s. I did not read or purchase her book for two reasons – not my kind of reading and I also heard the writing was poor. There are so many good books out there to read to waste time on poorly written one. And honestly, her editor and publisher need to be discussed as much as James. They printed the books, after all.
A good reminder to pick your words carefully and thoughtfully. I would also add “that” and “had” to the list. It doesn’t mean you can’t use certain words, but know why you are using them or why your writing might be stronger and clearer if you left them out. Thanks for the reminder Shanna.
Some ideas about writing from Joe Bunting and Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
I don’t think you have to be a journalist to write well, but I do agree with the idea of keeping it “real.” Fiction mixed with real life is always more believable. I have not read Marquez myself but I put him on my to read list. I like magic. I’ll blog a review when I get around to reading his book(s).
A bit of punctuation trivia for you writers out there.
Also – the Oxford (or serial) comma is taken from The Chicago Manual of Style, a style guide that fiction writers generally use for their writing vs the AP Style Guide, which is used for newspapers and web content.
As an editor, Mark’s style guide idea is a good one, but I don’t think I’d need all the information he asks for. I do like knowing what writing rules the writer has broken so I don’t waste time correcting something the writer wanted there in the first place. I don’t know how many people told me to change cliches in my book Rosebloom. I like cliches, sometime, and I left them in there on purpose.
What he didn’t mention was telling the editor the intended audience for the book. The language and references can be quite different for a piece depending on the audience.
Example of a good opening line: “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”
On this day in 1949 the book, 1984 by Eric Arthur Blair, AKA George Orwell, was published. Orwell wrote the book while on an island in the Scottish Hebrides. He wanted to get way after his wife’s death and his success with Animal Farm. He had TB but continued to write, despite his illness (he also remarried – the marriage taking place in the hospital in October of 1949). Born June 23, 1903 in India. His mother moved the family to England when he was one. He died January 21, 1950 at the age of 49 in London.
Some of his other books are: The Clergyman’s Daughter, Burmese Days, Coming Up For Air, Down and Out in Paris and London, Keep the Aspidistra Flying (I have to look at this one just because of the title – What’s an aspidistra?!)