On the 5th day of reading….
On the 5th day of reading my library gave to me:
five golden truths … for writers.
I might even go so far as to say that these books have the ring of truth. But I don’t think I can work that appalling pun any further.
The best advice you’ll get, as a writer, is to write. And then to write some more. Keep writing until you finish it. Then it’s written and you’re on to editing which is a whole different creel of fish.
But, if you’re not writing just at the moment, you might find it useful to read what others have had to say about writing. To which end, we’d like to recommend:
Writers have been referring to Strunk and White’s Elements of Style for almost 60 years. For the 40 years before that, they were referencing William Strunk’s wise words on “cleanliness, accuracy, and brevity in the use of English”, as E.B. White put it, before he was recruited to enlarge and revise the book. If you know you should write in in active voice and omit needless words, you’ve been influenced by this guide. Dorothy Parker said giving it to a young person who was thinking about becoming a writer was the second most useful thing you could do for them. The most useful was, allegedly, shooting them while they were still happy.
Stephen King obviously knows a thing or ten about writing, and his book – On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft – is a go-to reference guide for many aspiring writers. It opens with the engaging story of his early years and successes as a writer, and his personal account of overcoming addiction. It closes with an account of an accident and his recovery. In between King writes about writing. He is a great teacher, and one with a huge enthusiasm for this subject.
Kate Grenville’s The Writing Book is a step-by-step guide, full of practical advice for creating a work of fiction. Kate is not only an award-winning Australian author, best known for The Secret River, but also a lecturer in creative writing. This book takes the aspiring writer through the whole journey, from first ideas to the bottom line of publishing and making money from writing. First published 25 years ago, The Writing Book is rightly considered a classic.
The best thing I’ve ever done for my writing is attend a five-day masterclass with Australian author Fiona McIntosh. I highly recommend it. If you can’t do the masterclass, Fiona’s book – How to Write Your Block Buster – is the next best thing. With more than 30 books published since she attended a masterclass with Bryce Courtenay fifteen years ago Fiona really knows her stuff, and this book reads almost like having Fiona in the room, keeping you motivated and on track.
The Australian Writer’s Marketplace includes great advice and listings of literary agents, publishers, writing competitions, fellowships, grants, events, opportunities and much more. It includes a sample novel synopsis and cover letters which are priceless if you’re wondering where to even start with these. The Queensland Writers Centre publishes this book each year and, to be fair, its subtitle tells you all you need to know about it, it is: “every contact you will ever need to succeed in the writing business”.
If you’re one of our local writers, join us at the last Book Clinic for 2015 – update us on how your writing has gone this year and discover why good writers are readers and how to read to improve your writing. We’ll be at Nerang Branch Library today, Saturday 5 December, 10.30am – noon.