Wednesday, August 4, 2021

The best book about the writing craft I've ever read was written by Stephen King.

August has finally arrived, and with it is the first Wednesday of the month. That means it is time to participate in the Insecure Writer's Support Group blogfest, which you can sign-up for by going to this link. I'm old enough this month to remember when all of this got started with Mr. Alex J. Cavanaugh (science fiction author), and his really good idea to get all of us to participate in this kind of thing on a monthly basis. However, if you are new and have questions, here's what the IWSG is all about:

Purpose: 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!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting! Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post. And please be sure your avatar links back to your blog! Otherwise, when you leave a comment, people can't find you to comment back.

The twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

Every month, the IWSG announces a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

Remember, the question is optional!

Here is the Wednesday, August 4th 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 suppose (for me) this would be Stephen King's novel, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. The thing is full of good advice, like this little tidbit:
"The object of fiction isn't grammatical correctness, but to make the reader welcome and then tell a story....Writing is seduction. Good talk is part of seduction."
By the way, this advice is also good for aspiring DM's who want to run a tabletop Dungeons & Dragons game for people of all ages. Want another tidbit? Here you go:
"Once I start work on a project, I don't stop and I don't slow down unless I absolutely have to. If I don't write every day, the characters begin to stale off in my mind--they begin to seem like characters instead of real people. The tale's narrative cutting edge starts to rust, and I begin to lose my hold on the story's plot and pace. Worst of all, the excitement of spinning something new begins to fade. The work starts to feel like work, and for most writers, that is the smooch of death."
This is one I fail at a lot. However, it doesn't bother me, because I'm comfortable with who I am and what my limitations are as a writer.

Stephen King is one of those legendary writers that manages to be (simultaneously) among the greatest writers who have ever lived while also not being good enough for an award like the Pulitzer or the Nobel. It's a weird eclectic mix of genius and ideas colliding with a reality that speculative fiction really doesn't get much respect. Nevertheless, the man knows what he's talking about, and if you're a successful writer (or just starting out), you should still listen to whatever he has to say.

Thank you for stopping by my blog.

The awesome co-hosts for the August 4 posting of the IWSG are PK Hrezo, Cathrina Constantine, PJ Colando, Kim Lajevardi, and Sandra Cox!


  1. Stephen King's books have sold millions - that's better than any award.

    1. I wonder if King would agree. Some people really like awards.

  2. I totally agree--On Writing is my favorite book about writing as well.

  3. About all I remember from that book is the thing about not using adverbs, which I eventually stopped caring about. The only other thing about it I remember is I was reading it that day in 2003 when there was the big blackout in the eastern part of the country and Canada.

    If you get the chance, Lawrence Block has some great books on writing. He's a much more blue collar author so his experiences and advice are closer to our level. And he's been in the business a lot longer.

    1. I had never heard of Lawrence Block's book. Thanks for the tip.

  4. I liked that book too, Michael.
    Have a great reading/writing day.

  5. Hi Michael, Stephen King's book is popping up in so many posts that I have to buy it fast now :)

  6. On Writing is one of my all-time favorite books on writing. It's really a fantastic read.

  7. King is something of a nut. He writes every day. He publishes lots of books. A lot of those books never needed to be written, at least by Stephen King. He would’ve greatly benefited from real introspection. There’s a reason why the movie version of The Shining bothers him so much, because it’s the rare glimpse of King in his own work. Maybe that’s why he doesn’t do that more? But it will still be a terrible excuse. And recommending writing every day is just suggesting you spend too little time thinking your stories through. That’s what writers should really be doing. Even GRRM. If he spent as much time thinking as he did “writing,” he apparently wouldn’t have gotten himself tied in so many knots. Because he’s either drastically overthinking or underthinking. I’m inclined to believe the former…and the latter…

  8. Genre fiction gets no respect. It's sad, for I think it's better to write stories that people enjoy rather than ones that are "literary". But I'm just a reverse snob.