Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Ask a Professional

If you want good advice on how to write, sit down with someone who tinkers words together for a living and can actually teach.

Now, in my experience, these are two radically different skill sets.  One is based on an ability to smoothly walk through all the steps necessary to roughly replicate the same experience with a different audience over and over again.  The other involves failing at something -- often spectacularly -- over and over again, until you give it up as a bad idea or you get it right.  Then, once you have either chucked it or refined it into its purest state you're basically done,,. and it's time to start over again with the failing.

(Pro Tip: If, based on these descriptions, you have no ideas which one is teaching and which one is writing, probably neither profession is for you)

Jessica Lahey sat down with someone who does both extremely well here:
How Stephen King Teaches Writing

Looking back on his days in front of a high school classroom, the acclaimed writer shares his views on grammar and explains why discovering great literature is like losing one's virginity.
You should check it out.

1 comment:

Marc McKenzie said...

Thanks for this. And yep, I've got a copy of ON WRITING, and it really is the best book one can buy when it comes to, well, writing!