Mastering the writing craft–having something to say and expressing it well–is the entry ticket to the writer’s world. To merit publication by someone else, it must be clear, correct and often artful. To attract readership, it must at least be informative, appealing, topical, accessible and interesting. To become profitable and make a career of writing, one must develop an audience, a following or, what is called in the publishing game, a platform. In fact it helps to be a celebrity, like a presidential candidate, a news anchor or the survivor of a death-defying climb up Mount Everest. Often such public figures, entertainers or heroes use a collaborator to express their stories in readable, correct and publishable form. Short of these special circumstances, most aspiring authors, including me, have to do it the hard way, mastering the writing craft and innumerable additional skills to achieve writing success.The articles in this section will give you a sampling, from my own experience and guest experts in the writing field, to help you hone your writing skills.
One of the best references I can recommend to a beginner,or even to one who is well along his writing path, is Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. In his book, published in the year 2000, King claims to share :everything he knows about writing. Part memoir, part codification of his best writing strategies, the book has become a classic among writers.After a fascinating autobiographic sketch, he launches his section on his writing technique with these simple words:
“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things, that I’m aware of, no shortcut.”
To the comment King often heard from many aspiring writers, who “didn’t have time to read, ” he says: “Can I be blunt on the subject? If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.” The rest of the book discusses ways he has found to find this time, approaches to writing and tools and techniques. Speaking of taking time to read, for the new writer, this one is the very first on my Outside Reading list for this course.
To introduce the subject, I’ll start with a guest article on Fiction by John Lutz, award-winning author: