In my previous post, I discussed how I went from daydreamer to writer. In the beginning, writing was a hobby, but since I’m a perfectionist, I did some research. I stumbled upon a free ebook about writing fiction and show vs. tell. I remember feeling discouraged. Creative writing was harder than I had envisioned. Without any experience or training, how could I even consider becoming a writer?
I stopped writing and focused on my impending wedding. Months later, two books would eventually change my life.
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
I’d been a longtime fan of Stephen King, especially the movies and miniseries based on his work. Carrie and Firestarter were childhood favorites. As an adult, I read his newest books, and really enjoyed them. This memoir kept popping up in my recommendations, and I finally read it.
Mr. King assured me that all I needed to become a good writer, was “read a lot and write a lot.” I didn’t need a degree in creative writing. I also didn’t need to do extensive research because “research is backstory.” He said, “tell your truth.” And that’s what I did.
Faking It by Elisa Lorello
I’d read this novel years before and remembered how it included some writing tips. Andy is a professor in creative writing who hires an escort to teach her about sex. In exchange, she gives him writing lessons. There are samples of Devin’s writing throughout the book, and you can see how he grows as a writer. I decided to reread the novel, now paying attention to the writing lessons.
Originally, I wanted to write a memoir, and I thought the tips included in the novel would help. But then this merged into writing fiction, and like Stephen King says – I should read a lot. The novel is women’s fiction with romantic elements, exactly the type of novel I wanted to write.
I sent an email to Ms. Lorello, telling her how much I loved the book and a little about my journey. I asked for her advice, and she kindly wrote me back. She was encouraging, told me to read On Writing, which I’d already read, and most importantly, told me to join a community of writers.
This was key. Now I know that without the feedback of other writers, you can’t know what works and what doesn’t. But how could I join a community when I lived in Germany and didn’t know any other writers? Her advice propelled me to find a community online, which led me to Scribophile.
What books and/or authors have inspired your writing?