Friday, January 6, 2012

Stephen King Advice to Writer's - Read !

When asked why she writes,   the great writer, Flannery O’ Conner ,  who told of small town life in the South  answered, “Because I am good at it.”   A Flannery fan points out, “  O’Conner’s writing , her books are filled with humor, even when her meaning is serious. It shows the mix of a traditional world with a modern world. It also shows a battle of ideas expressed in the simple, country talk that O’Conner knew so well.”

When Yale Literary Magazine Interviewed Susan Orlean  (The Orchid) they posed the question, Do you consider what you write to be literature ?  Her answer, “The best description of what I do would be literary  non-fiction. Is it journalism ? Yeah, I guess. It’s a funny genre. It’s not a new form or style— people as far back as Alexis d Tocqueville used it. But there’s a new appetite for it. People want to know about the real world, and through a voice that’s more eloquent and creative than the news. There’s a vitality to non-fiction.”                                                                   

Stephen King, the acclaimed  author  of several best selling novels  i.e.  The Stand, Cujo, Christine,  and  his  current 11/22/63   tells aspiring writers  “If you don’t have  the time to read,  you don’t have the time (or tools) to write. Simple as that.”                                           


Besides being prolific and renowned American authors, you might wonder  why I lump these three together.  It is because what they write is genuine, from the heart.  Telling of a time and place beyond ourselves.  Something eternal  we can relate too .

I agree with King when he says to writers, “If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time (or tools) to write.”   In my view reading is vital to becoming a  better writer. That’s why I  include reading every day, like writing every day  on my  list of activities for the New Year.

 My top 12 reading  list for 2012

· 11/22/63   (Stephen King)
· Rin Tin Tin  (Susan Orlean)
· Wise Blood  (Flannery O’Connor)
· Catherine the Great (Raymond K. Massie)
· Killing Lincoln  ( Bill O’Reilly)
· Justice Forbidden (Anna Parker Goodwin)
· Then Again  (Diane Keaton)
· Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
· The Apostles ( Pope Benedict XVI)
· Ghost Light (Joseph O’Connor)
· Ben Hur (Lew Wallace)
· Death Comes to Pemperly  (P.D. James)

For those of us who find pleasure in the written word , I think we can agree, reading and writing 
go together like ham and eggs, toast and jam, love and marriage. And like Stephen King tells us, if we don't have the time to read, we don't have the time to write.  Simple as that. 


Jessie Gunderson said...

I'm reading!;) Thanks, great reminders.

Kathy Cooney Dobbs said...

Thank you for your comment,Jessie. What are you reading?

elizabethbrinton said...

So these are books you plan to read this year? Good for you. I wrote down "Wise Blood" and "Death comes to Pemberly." I read 11/22/63 so we can discuss it!

Kathy Cooney Dobbs said...

Yes, Lizzie B ! These are some of the books I plan to read.. glad a couple I listed interest you :) Am through Chapter 10 of King's 11/22/63 - I find it interesting & imaginative in the same way I found the television program Quantum Leap fun to watch

Writing North Idaho said...

Thank you Kathy for the nudge to keep reading. It is so important for writers, especially in helping to develop craft and understanding how writers do what they do. Love the list.

Anonymous said...

Oh thank you so much. You are so interesting and I always feel I have learned something of value from what you write. What a great list!!!


Patty said...

Fun article! Makes me want to compile a "to read" list of my own and include some of your suggestions. Thanks Kath!

Jane Bettany said...

Thanks for the post. I agree that making time to write is so important. What we have to remember is that it sometimes means sacrificing some other things in our lives. Worth it though!