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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Best Book? On Writing! IWSG August 2021


It's IWSG Day. The goal of this blog hop is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. IWSG is the brainchild of the amazing and generous  Alex Cavanaugh. To find links to other IWSG contributors, click here. Thank you to the August co-hosts: PK Hrezo, Cathrina Constantine, PJ Colando, Kim Lajevardi, and Sandra Cox.

This month’s optional question: What is your favorite writing craft book? Think of a book that every time you read it you learn something or you are inspired to write or try the new technique. And why?

I am not a horror girl. I avoid anything delivering nightmare potential. In high school, friends dragged me to the movies to see Stephen King’s Carrie, which I watched mostly through my fingers. When a friend badgered me to pick up King's Salem’s Lot the summer after my sophomore year of college, I put up a good fight. Sadly, she was relentless, so to get her off my back I began the book, becoming unnerved enough to throw it across the room unfinished. It lay there in the corner for a long time.

In light of that, it doesn’t seem likely that my favorite book on writing would be King’s On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft, but it is. Second place definitely goes to Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott and I've learned tons from Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg and Pen on Fire, by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett. With that said, though, I turn to On Writing for inspiration, a quote, or simply a jump start when I’m feeling stalled. The book is so approachable, so entertaining, with voice and clarity and simplicity. Reading it is like taking a class from your favorite teacher, the one who so loves his subject matter his enthusiasm bleeds right through you.  

I’m still not a horror girl. But after blathering on to my dear husband some years back about how much I loved On Writing, he enticed me to read King’s (non-horror) 11/22/63.  Boy, howdy. Not only can Stephen King teach about writing. Man, oh man, can he write!  

If, like me, you hate horror but want good reading, try this link for non-horror stories by Stephen King.  I'm happy to say there are several I've missed. Yahoo! Looks like I've got more books to read.

For other good other books on craft, click here for a post on Book Riot, where you’ll find a list of 100.

What’s your favorite book on writing?



Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That is funny he's your favorite although you don't read horror. He also has a fantasy book if you'd like to try that one.

Joanne said...

I agree that is the best book on writing. I've dipped in and out of his horror books - IT - best creepy. But indeed, the man knows how to write. He's very down to earth in his approach and I think that's his appeal. The common person can relate.
There's another book - Eudora Welty's writing memoir - that is quietly lyrical. A very different tone but quite inspirational.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I so agree with this - "Reading it is like taking a class from your favorite teacher, the one who so loves his subject matter his enthusiasm bleeds right through you." I also have the audio - on CDs! - where King reads it so it really does feel like he's teaching you.

SALEM'S LOT terrified me. :o

Oh, try some of his short stories for non-horror - THE BODY (Stand By Me movie) and RITA HAYWORTH AND THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (The Shawshank Redemption movie.) That one is a favorite around my blog. :)

Nick Wilford said...

That was my choice too. It's not a horror-writing guide, it's a story-writing guide. It's very universal which is why I think it's so popular.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I'm not a horror person either, but I liked Stephen King's book too. I've read a few others on your list too.

Fundy Blue said...

Happy IWSG Day, Liza! Your top three books are on my writing bookshelf, so now I've added "Pen on Fire" to my list. Stephen King is amazing, and I've enjoyed many of his books. But, if I'm roped into a horror movie, I watch through my fingers and completely cover my eyes a lot. Take care!

Karen Lynn said...

I like Writing the Breakout Novel, and some of the genre-specific things that you come across from time to time.
Happy IWSG Day

Leigh Caron said...

I know right? I loved Stephen King in his early days of writing...and then I didn't. The next book of his I picked up, after many people's urgings, was 11/22/63 and yup...he's a great story teller. And On Writing is lovingly placed on my office shelf.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Liza - great recommendations and explanations as to why Stephen King is so well respected for his craft ... thanks to you and your commenters - cheers Hilary

Diane Burton said...

I'm like you, a non-horror girl, and a fan of On Writing. Such an inspiring book. You mentioned another book that I like: Bird by Bird. When things get rough, I remember Lamott's dad's advice.

Carol Kilgore said...

I agree with you about Stephen King. I'm not a horror girl either, but the book I threw into the corner was IT. But, oh, can he ever write!
Have a great August.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

I have 11/22/63 on my shelf. I must read it! Hahahaha
But yes, On Writing is a great book.

Michael Di Gesu said...

WOW, Liza! You have some wonderful suggestions here. I am not a HORROR fan either, but I did manage to get through The SHINING in my teens. I believe I have Stephen King's book on writing, but I hate to admit I have never read it. I NEED to find it and start reading it!

J Lenni Dorner said...

King is great.
"The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon" isn't horror, it's a thriller about a young girl lost in the woods for a few days. There's no monster or whatever, it's person vs nature. So, depending what you like/ dislike about horror, that's one of his books you might like. (Or not. Depends how you feel about being lost in the woods.)