Trust your instincts
I was recently given encouragement regarding a certain aspect of my writing style. This is nothing major, but of course every bit of confidence counts in this game. It was whilst reading Stephen King’s “On Writing” that I discovered I was right all along.
First off, “On Writing” is an excellent book, and you should read it. I don’t know why I didn’t read it much much earlier.
The chapter in question concerned grammar (it’s only a short bit, and still interesting, so don’t let that put you off). Recently I had been a bit worried about whether to use adjectives or not, and especially in dialogue attribution (he said, angrily, for example). I’ve never liked using it. It always felt wrong and looked childish. But there was a nagging feeling that maybe I should be using it sometimes. After all, the words were invented for a reason.
But Stephen King says otherwise, and as soon as I read it I knew I was being stupid all along. Of course I was right! It didn’t even warrant the slightest bit of worry. Still, it’s nice to have your thoughts confirmed by a master.
I knew it already because Stephen King knew it. I read loads of King when I was younger, so it’s no surprise that I should pick up good habits from his writing, and others. And that’s the second point of this post. It sounds obvious, but we should all be reading. Read read read read read. You probably don’t read enough – I know I don’t.
Do you sometimes have a crisis of confidence over silly little things? Maybe you disagree about adjectives. Any good examples of where they work really well?