This is the first ever guest post on my blog from a very talented writer Steven Capps (even if he can’t spell my name). I asked him to write about a book that has inspired him.
I would like to thank my host, Eric Klingenberg, for allowing me to share an amazing book with you guys this week. Eric has been a guest on blog several times, and I felt like it was past due for me to return the favor. I am sure that most people who are reading this are already following Eric’s Blog, but just in case you are not, please scroll down and hit the follow button, and then come back and read the rest of this post.
Now that you’ve returned, I want to share one of the pieces of literature that transformed my writing. Stephen King, the mega-huge horror writer, released a memoir/writing guide in 2000 called, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. Whether you enjoy his fiction work or not, this book is incredible in its ability to take someone who writes as a hobby and transform them into a serious writer.
Before King discusses any tips on writing, he talks about the mindset a writer needs to have. A writer needs to own there writing. If someone approaches the blank page without believing in him or herself, then it will be hard for them to take their writing seriously. If the author doesn’t believe in their work, how can they expect their reader to do it? Having low self-confidence will hinder a writer from getting valuable feedback that can transform a lousy first draft into something to really be proud of.
One of the most enlightening passages is when King discusses the art of writing. A rough paraphrase goes something like this: Writing is the act of telepathy. The writer takes ideas, images, and events from their mind and transmits them to others. A weak writer paints an unclear picture, and the best writers transcended the page and make readers forget they are looking at black squiggles. King ends the section saying, “We’re not even in the same year together, let alone the same room… except we are together.” (106)
King admonishes the passive voice, over exerting one’s vocabulary, and the use of adverbs to name a few. One of my favorite quotes from the book is, “the road to hell is paved with adverbs.” (125) By shying away from adverbs, a writer can find prime ways to show and not tell what is happening in their story. Showing is at the heart of writing as telepathy. It is easy to say, “He walked sneakily through the room,” but the passage, “He crept into the darkness, careful to not let the wood creak under his feet,” creates a far stronger image.
If you have not read Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, I honestly believe you are missing out. It is full of enlightening information, his voice is riveting, and you will find it impossible to put it down. I would like to say thanks to my host, Eric Klingenberg, and if you have skipped out on following him you should really do it now. Thank you so much for your time, and I look forward to talking to you all in the comments.
Steven Capps lives in IL. He’s pursuing a bachelor’s degree in English: Writing. When he is not playing with his newborn son or serving in the IL National Guard, he finds himself lost in a book or trying to create one that others can get lost in. His short story, “Eevee,” has been publish in the Fall 2015 issue of The Bird and Dog and regularly posts on his blog;