Last night while reading through some writing books, I had a thought. Shocking, I know. It had to do with books on writing.
They’re all the same.
Some might focus on a certain element like plot or characterization, while others tackle the whole kit and caboodle. When you’re first striking out on the writing road, the endless titles can get overwhelming. One might be tempted to only read the works by accomplished authors. Obviously they know what they’re doing, right?
Then again, there are those who know the ins and outs of a field without being able to reproduce their own. I know car enthusiasts that could tell you anything you want to know about a particular car, but not have a clue on how to make one. Should I not take their advice?
Want my advice?
Go to a bookstore or library. Grab as many writing books as you can and read through them. Find the ones that speak to you. If you can, buy them. If not, take notes or check them out from your library. Eventually you’ll find that there’s nothing new to learn. The same ideas are just regurgitated in a new stylized manner.
Don’t forget to analyze the books you like to read. You find them entertaining for a reason. Try to take them apart to see why.
It’s important to learn the rules of storytelling and grammar. It does NOT mean you need to stick to them. I just prefer to know that if I’m breaking a traditional rule in writing, that I’m doing on purpose to gain a desired effect.
Rules were meant to be broken. Just know why you’re doing it.
So to wrap up, here’s my Something New: I will never buy another book on writing. The temptation is there, but I think I know better now. This is good for me at where I am in my own writing. This might not be good for yours.
As always, I’m happy to hear your thoughts on this.