On Writing

On Writing
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One of my aims for the new year was to post more of what I’m up to. I’ve been pretty lax on my reading of late; while I spend lots of time reading blogs, I’ve been spending far less than I used to reading books. So, I’m going to try and use the blog to motivate myself to read more of the stack of books I’m accumulating (another 15 unread over Christmas!).

I just finished “On Writing” by Stephen King, a great book for anyone that’s interested in writing. It gives lots of practical advice and insights into his writing process. It’s aimed at those interested in starting out writing fiction, but lots of the advice he gives is useful no matter what subject you’re writing about. While I wouldn’t be a huge fan of his fiction, I thought On Writing was a fantastic read.

Oddly I found parts of it related very well to web design / development, for example, when talking about the use, and overuse, of descriptive language :

“….if [the setting] turns out not to be a major part of the story, I’d do well to revise the descriptive stuff down by a few lines in the next draft. Certainly I couldn’t keep it in on the grounds that it’s good; it should be good, if I’m being paid to do it. What I’m not being paid to do is be self-indulgent” (emphasis added)

Another great point I took away was that:

“Life is not a support system for art. It is the other way around”

I think you can substitute the word “work” for art and still be left with something you’d do well to remember.

Next in the pile of books is In Exile by Billy O’Callaghan (2008); it’s a book of short stories that’s been a good read so far, although I’m not far into it.

If you’ve got any recommendations for other good books you picked up over the Christmas I’d love to hear them (so I can add them to the growing mountain of reading I’ve got to do).

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