The brilliant thing about being a writer is that a large portion of your time must be spent reading. If you don’t like reading, you won’t be a writer – no more than a musical innocent would become a rock star (except maybe Oasis – I’ve always thought they sound like they don’t much like music beyond racist chants on the terraces).
I’m rereading On Writing by Stephen King because I just finished his Bag of Bones and needed some more of him, right away please. I think my best writing traits come from Steve. From him I learned rhythm, and particularly breaking the rules when they must be broken to get the mood right. Today I wrote “We all know smoking is poison awful evil for your health…” This is classic King: forget grammz if you must. The one I’m not quite bold enough for (I’m not a fiction writer after all) is emotional spelling. Steve does a lot of this, to STUPENDOUS effect in building characters. Fuckin and ooo and all sorts.
My worst writerly traits come from Janet Fitch, which is no reflection on her – I just flogged her poetic prose to death as a youngster. Similes and adverbs ABOUNDED.
In the name of ‘it’s my job’, I bought six books last week in an eBay frenzy:
- Brighton Rock by Graham Green (loved Travels With My Aunt and this is supposedly his best)
- Troublesome Words by Bill Bryson
- The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
- The Pregnant Widow by Martin Amis
- London Fields by Martin Amis
- The Road Less Travelled by Scott M. Peck (heavy shit)
Who will I try on next?