Scott Harris. An enigma in the Western writing business. A man who has scored hits with each of his releases. There isn’t enough room to name them all here… and now we are presenting his thoughts about writing. Each one of these blogs will give you the thoughts of a bestseller… directly from his mouth! Read on and discover more about Harris’ writing world…
Stephen King’s book on writing is called, you guessed it, “On Writing.” Some consider it a classic of the “writers helping other writers” genre. I don’t actually know if that’s a genre, but it should be, and King’s book is a good one. While he’s best known for his horror, fantasy and supernatural books, none of which I’ve read, his advice here is invaluable and universal, crossing genre lines. It is as valuable to Western writers as it is to those who plan to write horror books.
His book is part autobiographical, part novel and part a writer’s roadmap.
It is broken into five sections.
- C.V. – the autobiographical part of his journey.
- What Writing Is – the title of this section could have been expanded to add “and Why It’s Important.”
- Toolbox – the nuts and bolts of grammar, style, vocabulary, structure, etc. Not necessarily fun, except for the quirky among us, but necessary.
- On Writing – cautionary and inspirational thoughts for those new to the craft.
- On Living: A Postscript – details on the horrific accident King was in and how it impacted his life and his writing.
It is hard to pull a few things out of “On Writing” and highlight them, because so many of the pieces of advice, passages and candid insights deserve to be highlighted, I could simply yellow out the entire book and post it. But there are laws that forbid me to do so, so I’ve picked out a few of my favorites…
On criticism: In many ways, Eula-Bealah prepared me for literary criticism. After having a two-hundred-pound babysitter fart on your face and yell Pow!, The Village Voice holds few terrors. (If you like this line, you’ll love the book.)
On story ideas: …good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky…
On adverbs: I insist that you use the adverb in dialog attribution only in the rarest and most special of occasions.
More adverbs: All I ask is that you do as well as you can, and remember that, while to write adverbs is human, to write he said or she said is divine.
On improving: …it is possible, with lots of hard work, dedication, and timely help, to make a good writer out of a merely competent one.
On “The Great Commandment”: Read a lot, write a lot. (This might be the most obvious, most important and most overlooked piece of advice in the entire book.)
On descriptions: …if you have a feeling you can’t describe, you just might be, I don’t know, kind of like, my sense of it is, maybe in the wrong fucking class. (This is pulled from my favorite story in the book, and at least for me, it was laugh out loud, blow milk through your nose, lose a little bladder control funny.)
On the “Magic Secrets of Writing”: …there aren’t any—bummer, huh?
If you decide to never write another word, this book is still very much worth your time to read. If you do plan on writing, or better yet, are in the middle of a project, this book is borderline indispensable.
I wish you good writing, and if you have a question or something you’d like to share, send me an email at Scott@scottharriswest.com.
Thank you, enjoy and keep writing!
CATCH THE LATEST SCOTT HARRIS WESTERN BESTSELLER!
The latest adventure from one of the most exciting Western authors of today! This is “Mojave Massacre” from Scott Harris! A sure-fire reader pleaser!
Brock, Sophie and Huck are still living with the Havasupai at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. But their lives are threatened by the murderous and vengeful Paiute, and Brock and Huck, seeing no alternative, race one hundred miles to a small trading outpost, hoping to buy the rifles that will give them a chance against the much larger Paiute forces.
They stumble across four slaughtered Hopi Indians, track down the murderers, and find help in very unexpected places from friends – new and old.
The final battle is brutal, bloody and decisive.
Mojave Massacre is the exciting second book in the new Grand Canyon trilogy and the fifth book in the best-selling Brock Clemons Western series, following the tremendously successful Dry Springs trilogy. Click here to download your copy of this exciting new book!