So you want to be a writer, Part 4

The previous parts of this guide were basically a reality check on what the writing life can be like and how to get your head straight while living it.  This part here is different. I’ll give you some tools and resources to get better at the craft, get published, be successful and more. These are the ones that worked for me and I believe are helpful. I hope they can be useful for you too.

Barry Eisler

Barry Eisler writes excellent thrillers, packed with action, martial arts, spy-craft and much, much more. But even better, he’s very generous in sharing his experience as a writer with others. He has a cool section especially for writers on his website, giving loads of great advice. You can also get to his forum there, where he’s very active and has a cool community going.  Here’s an interesting video where he talks about writing a bit:

Don’t forget to watch the second part of this interview, it also holds some good info.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Kristine is a prolific author who’s sold a lot of books though I admit I haven’t read any of them. However, she’s writing a free, on-line book about writing called the Freelancer’s Guide. It’s a long read but she gives you so much information on the crucial skills a writer needs, you’d be a fool not to read it. Excellent stuff!

J. A. Konrath

Here’s another author who’s been pretty successful. He has an interesting blog on which he shares some insights as well. I really liked the ones on E-books, How not to write a story and about the social media. There’s plenty more there if you go through the archives.

Jim Butcher

Jim is the author of my current favorite book series, The Dresden Files. He’s a martial artist and has a great bulletin board with a section where authors can come for help or feedback. Highly recommended.

Stephen King

The King of Horror. I only read Salem’s Lot and enjoyed it but I do have a couple other books of his on my reading list. Even if you hate his books, you can’t deny he’s been successful.  He’s also written one of the best books about the craft called “On Writing”. It’s part autobiography, part essay on what it takes to write. The autobiography section is just as informative as the rest, simply by showing you how you can mess up as a writer. The second part gives crystal-clear information on writing books.  It’s the best book on this topic I’ve ever read, no other work comes close.  If you read this one, you’ll also pick up where I tipped my hat to King in the first part of this guide. :-)

William Strunk Jr.

At Stephen King’s recommendation, I read this book. It covers the grammar of the English language in a way you can actually understand. None of that high-brow English literature class stuff, just solid info you can use right away. It’s regarded as one of the classics and I can only agree with that. Get this one, especially if you hated your English language class in school. BTW, don’t get the more expensive “updated” version. It doesn’t add much value.

That’s it for part four. In part five, you can read an interview with one of the most successful martial arts writers out there.


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