Favorite books on writing

Every writer has their favorite books on the craft. For me they are:

On Writing Well, by William Zinsser

On Writing, by Stephen King

Anything by Elmore Leonard

The first two offer great advice on the craft of writing. The third is useful in the same way that Quentin Tarantino found it helpful to work in a video store – you get to immerse yourself in craftsmanship.

They’re the reason I use adverbs like habanero peppers (sparingly – see what I did there?). They’re also why I keep to the active voice.

I tend to keep my sentences under twenty words, with the occasional exception (see above). I think it’s due to my decades in the ad business, where space was expensive and attention spans fleeting.

Stephen King’s book is also a great memoir. He’s lived an interesting life. And he gives proper credit to his wife for rescuing early pages of Carrie from the garbage can.

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