Friday, February 19, 2010

Two Recommended Books About Writing

I'm so glad that I've been given this opportunity to write my own weekly blog for Sylvanopolis Writers Society. I've been sick for most of the week with a cold so unfortunately I haven't gotten as much done as I've wanted to as far as writing goes. I think I spent most of my energy finishing up and submitting my article to the Website that I've been writing for payment for. That's where most of my writing has gone for the week. Everything else has been bits and pieces here and there, now and then. But I remembered earlier on this Friday that it is the day that I had agreed with one of Sylvanopolis's coordinators that I would post my blog and so, since I've been recovering more each day, I would at least dedicate some time to this first of my blog entries for Sylvanopolis.

I had been thinking that a great thing to write about for a first blog entry would be a book on style that I've been reading. It's called The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White. (You've probably heard of it; it's one of the most popular, while oldest, books on writing style around.) I had heard from other writers groups and have read professional writers' opinions about how much this book improves your writing no matter what level of the art and craft you're at. One of those authors who recommends it is Stephen King, who makes reference to it in his own book On Writing. I had also read his book a while back and so that's another book about writing that I recommend.

Strunk and White's book gets down to the bare rules of writing, particularly style and grammar, whereas King discusses his own experience with his writing career, from its beginning all the way to the present, telling much of it in autobiographical form as well as discussing the rules of writing. However, because it's autobiographical, he discusses the subject of writing in story form and so it's more motivating to the reader who wants to improve his/her writing.

But don't get me wrong about Strunk and White's book. Although their book may come across to many as dry because it gets right down to the topic itself rather than builds a story around it (according to what I've read so far; I haven't finished reading it) it points out rules of grammar and style that most of us probably have never thought existed.

Both of these books are not necessarily just for beginning writers. They make great references for experienced and professional writers as well. I majored in English while attending Sacramento State University and graduated with my B.A. in the subject. Needless to say, writing covered a big portion of the curriculum. I've also been published both electronically and in print several times. Even so, I have learned from these to books numerous ways to improve my own writing both at the stylistic and grammatical levels. So I recommend these two to anyone who wants to write as a profession as well as those who are already doing so.

I know a lot of people say that Steven King is not the best writer. If that is true, maybe he just doesn't always practice what he preaches, because the majority of what he says in his On Writing makes perfect sense and appears to be perfectly valid. I'm not a big fan of King's fiction myself, but I've read some of his shorter works and I'm reading his novel The Shining right now. I've seen some flaws in his fiction but I do have to admit that he puts a story together really well and knows how to raise the suspense in it as the plot develops. His description is also very vivid and his characters well developed. For me, he's at least worth reading if you want to escape everyday reality and therefore be scared out of your boring, everyday life for a while.

William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White's Elements of Style and Stephen King's On Writing--two books to think about if you really want to improve your writing whether you're a beginning or an experienced writer. After all, all art can always be improved!

Until next week . . . !



Post a Comment

Design by Wordpress Theme | Bloggerized by Free Blogger Templates | free samples without surveys