Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Reading About Writing

I've been reading a lot of books about writing recently (indeed I seem to do more reading about writing than actually writing these days). Anyway, the latest was Stephen King's On Writing - a book divided into three parts. The first section gives us an insight into his growing up with a series of snapshots from his life, the second goes into detail about how to write, and the final section deals with his being hit by a truck back in 1999 (in the middle of the book being written).

While I like the book, it's three-section approach goes against it somewhat, since the autobiographical stuff is a terrific read, while the technical stuff about writing, while engaging enough, isn't quite as interesting, creating a bit of a dip in the centre of the book.

On the other end of the spectrum is Russell T Davies's Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale which is a collection of e-mails taken over a year of his writing/executive producing Doctor Who. Because of its form, where everyday events intermingle with Russell's thoughts on writing, the quality's pretty consistent throughout (fun, kind of bloggy), apart from the script excerpts scattered throughout that to be honest I just skipped.

Of course, I might also be drawn to the Davies book because I can identify far more with his experience of writing (Davies is a procrastinator who keeps it all in his head and can't put it down on paper until he's plummeting towards the deadline; whereas King is a non-stop reading/writing machine). Then again, it could just be that it's got lots of pretty pictures.

Anyway, both of them are recommended.

Finally just thought I'd mention another great book about writing, especially for any would-be comic book writers out there. I'm talking about Alan Moore's Writing For Comics - short, concise and inspiring. You can also find a terrific interview with him where he talks about writing in details here . It's been a good while since I read either of these, but they come to mind after I finally got my sister and my nephew interested in something by Alan Moore over the weekend. While I'd have loved for it to be due to one of his groundbreaking works like Watchmen (my nephew expressed interest when he saw the trailer for the upcoming movie, but when I hopefully brought the book around, he flicked through it in a matter of seconds, and then assured me he'd read it), or even for something more accessible like his DC Comics work or D.R. & Quinch or Halo Jones, but instead it turned out to be for his musical foray The March Of The Sinister Ducks. Ah, well, I guess it's a start.


A Blog In The Rough said...

Writing on writing is kinda strange if ya ask me. But then again who am I? Obviously not a writer! :)

An Eerie Tapestry said...

Not sure why a writer writing on writing is any stranger than any other person talking about their profession, but, yeah, you're right, it is (guess that makes me not a writer too:) ).

Part of the problem is that there's a certain intangibility about writing which the writers themselves can never nail down (otherwise everybody would be able to do it), so they tend to stick to talking about the technical side which sometimes risks making the magical seem mundane.

The Bumbles said...

I recently added King's book to my To Read pile just because I think it would be fascinating to go take a tour of his brain sometime.

I also thought of you and your new blog when I was working on our Thursday 13 post - have you heard of this meme? It is the best one out there that we have found - you can check it out here. I must say that we have met more people participating in T13 than anything else. It forces you to be creative as well which is always good for someone like you interested in writing.