Friday, February 3, 2012

Books that inspire: On Writing

You know what cheers me up on a bad writing day? Carrie.

Yes, I'm referring to the blood-soaked prom queen created by Stephen King, but not in the way you might think. I enjoyed the book, loved the original film (not so much love for the sequel or made-for-tv remake...though the musical sounds interesting), but I don't perk myself up by breaking out either. Nor do I  fantasize about hosting a telekinetic barbecue for all the agents and editors who rejected me over the last decade.

Okay, maybe I've had that fantasy once or twice...but, that's not what I mean.

I'm referring to the genesis of Carrie and the rough beginnings of her creator, a man who became the most successful writer of the 20th century. If you don't know the story, I won't spoil it for you here. He tells it much better than I ever could in his memoir ON WRITING

It's part textbook, part autobiography, and part magic. It won't give you a formula to duplicate Mr. King's success, but will show a commonality between him and us mere mortals attempting to put words on paper. He got rejections. He had trouble paying his bills. He wondered if maybe, just maybe, hammering away at that typewriter was a waste of time.

If you've ever felt like that, what better company to be in?

The book's not for everyone, and there are other great books on the craft out there. I read ON WRITING at least once a year, particularly during rough patches. I think you could do worse than giving it shot at least once.

Or, you can work on your telekinesis. Whatever works.


Lamar "L. R." Giles writes for adults and teens. Penning everything from epic fantasy to noir thrillers, he's never met a genre he didn't like. His debut YA mystery WHISPERTOWN is about a teen in witness protection who investigates his best friend's murder and stumbles on a dark conspiracy that leads back to his own father. It will be published in Summer, 2013 by HarperCollins. He resides in Virginia with his wife and is represented by Jamie Weiss Chilton of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Find out more on his website, Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.


  1. Absolutely agree--I've never read any of Stephen King's fiction, but I loved ON WRITING!

  2. ON WRITING is essential. That is all!

  3. I really need to read it. I read (or re-read) a Stephen King novel once a year or so, and I keep hearing good things here. It's funny- I religiously re-read Ender's Game once a year, as that is the book that first REALLY made me want to be a writer. Nearly 20 years later, it still inspires me. Glad to hear others have similar predilections!