Friday, September 5, 2008

Recommended Reading: On Writing by Stephen King

As a writer I am ashamed to admit that I only recently read this book. One that I've often heard touted as an absolute must read for any serious writer. I must also admit that I am not a fan of Stephen King's novels and I've only seen two of the proliferation of films based on the works of this American legend writer (Misery & Secret Window). I respect his skills and I do enjoy a bit of suspense. But, I am not the kind that typically enjoys scaring myself half to death - on purpose.

Despite this fact, I actually enjoyed my journey into the life and mind of Stephen King. On Writing is a combination autobiography and writing guide. He is quite clear about the fact that he is telling you about himself, not as some sort of ego trip, but to demonstrate how his life and personal journey have informed his writing. It was fascinating and inspiring to hear his personal story, the obstacles that he faced, and how many of his stories developed. Whether you are a writer or not, it is an excellent read.

I also recently finished On Writing Romance: How to Craft a Novel That Sells by Leigh Michaels. While I don't write strict romances, there is an element of romance in my stories to some degree or another.

Leigh does a fantastic job of guiding budding authors through important elements of fiction writing like developing believable characters and creating compelling dialogue. She also gives advice on developing intimate scenes in different genres from sweet traditional romance to erotica; a list of common cliches to steer clear of; and settings and industries that make it tough to get your novel picked up by mainstream publishers.

This is a must read for any romance writer.

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