In this talking shop episode, we discuss two of the writing tools that have been helpful to us in our writing. This month, Ashley’s choice was Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon, and Sarah attempted to unravel some of the many benefits of reading On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King.
For their leisure reading this month, Sarah has been catching up with Robert Galbraith’s Cormoran Strike novels, finishing the fourth in the series, Lethal White, and beginning the fifth, Troubled Blood. Ashley got a great recommendation from a friend and has started a book called Fifty Fifty by Steve Cavanagh.
As usual in our talking shop series, we dive straight into talking about our resources. Sarah begins by talking about On Writing by Stephen King, which many writers have at the very least heard of, or if not read. Nevertheless, for the writers out there who have not heard or read the book, it was an important one to discuss. Stephen King divides the book into three sections. First, a short autobiography, next his ‘toolbox’ which includes some helpful grammar tips and sentence structure, and finally, a section ‘On Writing’ which discusses Stephen King’s views on style, and his process and writing habits.
We then moved into discussing Ashley’s choice for the month; Steal like an Artist. Ashley described it as a short book with ten useful tips you can apply to your creative life in general. It was well illustrated and Ashley discussed some of the tips that resonated with her. 1) Steal like an Artist: This tip explained how every idea has usually been done already, but it is the amalgamation of different ideas that sheds new light on a topic, and though the idea may not be original, the author’s take on it adds something new. Another tip that inspired Ashley was 3) Write the book you want to read: Ashley discussed how for her this meant rather than writing what you know, challenge yourself to write outside of that. What you know is not always what interests you. Sarah had a different take on this tip, and discussed how writing to market is not a sure-fire way to get sales. But the basic truth of both these interpretations is the same—to do well, you have to be passionate about what you write. We moved onto tip 6) Do good work and share it with people: While the obvious part of this tip is to try to share your work with people from an early point, it also discussed enjoying obscurity, which allows you to share work in a smaller community before the eyes of the world places expectations on the types or style of book you write. Lastly, Ashley liked the simple statement of tip 8) Be Nice. Make friends, ignore enemies. This certainly applies to life in general!
We rounded off by talking about the books we’re currently reading in our leisure time. Sarah has been reading Robert Galbraith’s books (AKA J.K. Rowling) and has been immensely enjoying the light-hearted humor that is sprinkled within these detective novels. Ashley has been reading a book called Fifty Fifty by Steve Cavanagh, and has been intrigued by the structure of this multi-perspective book, as it is told by two sister’s legal teams as they try to unravel which of the sisters murdered their father. The ominous viewpoint of ‘She’ (the killer) adds suspense and offers clues.
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