Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Stephen King and Phyllis A. Whitney

Well, two days into my vacation and I’m already rejuvenated. I haven’t done as much writing as I had hoped to but I have gotten several things done on my ‘To Do’ list. And I’ve read one book and started another. The book I read was Stephen King’s book On Writing. This is the second time I’ve read it. I love his straight forward approach and honesty about the ups and downs of the craft. I’ve also drawn inspiration from it. I may be in the boat alone here but I think he’s the Alfred Hitchcock of Literary world. And to be honest if I’m going to read a book about writing I want it to be from someone who has actually written and published a book—if you know what I mean. It’s like taking a writing course with a teacher who has never been published. He doesn’t recommend them, but he did suggest two books on writing: Elements of Style by William Struck and Warriner’s English, Grammar and Composition. Now years ago, I took a writing course through Writers Digest and can honestly say it helped me a great deal. But my teacher was a multi-published author, and to my delight, a good friend of the Great Dame of Mystery, Phyllis A. Whitney, who passed on just last year at the age of 104. Whitney is another author who has inspired me. Her career spanned over five decades and in 1988, the MWA gave her a Grand Master Award for lifetime achievement. She was and remains one of the world's most beloved mystery and romantic suspense writers. To read more about Ms. Whitney and her career you can go to her official website. In re-reading King’s book On Writing, I was reminded that I have been neglecting one of the greatest tools for a writer and that is reading. Every good writer will tell you the two main tools of the craft are to Read A Lot and Write Every Day even if the muse isn’t there. So yesterday I purchased two new paperbacks to read while on vacation, The Killing Hour by Lisa Gardner and Ashes to Ashes by Tami Hoag. They’re pretty thick and I’m a slow reader (and I still have my own novel to write) so I’ll probably still be reading past my vacation but at least they’ll get me back on track. Now that you know some of the authors who have inspired me I want to hear from you. That goes for readers too. Who's your favorite author(s) and why?


Ban said...

You know, I'm glad to see you recommend that book by Stephen King. I've often wondered if it was any good. Personally, I love King - The Stand is my all time favorite. He has a way of putting you into the mindset of a character (good or bad), he has a way of giving them quirks etc. without being obnoxious about it and, he has a way of describing places that makes you feel like you've been there. Can't tell you how many times I've passed an eerie building and felt like I'd 'seen' it in a King book. I've never heard of Phyllis A. Whitney before but you can bet I'm gonna go look her up !

Anne Patrick said...

Aw, another Stephen King fan. Is there anyone who isn't:-). My mother was the one who turned me onto Phyllis A. Whitney and I'm so thankful that she did. Ms. Whitney was a true master that all of us could learn from. Especially those who write in first person. I haven't read all of her books but the ones I have were written that way. I usually don't like reading first person but I make the exception with her books as well as Sue Grafton's. And yes, I highly recommend King's book On Writing. It's a very personal book as he touches on his own personal demons and even discusses the accident when he was run over while walking near his home in Maine.

Miss Mae said...

I first encountered Phyllis Whitney, and also Victoria Holt, in high school. I adored their books, especially Victoria's more gothic stories.

But I must say after a few years of reading Phyllis, I felt her stories were all pretty much re-done, and I became bored.

I also loved Sir Arthur Conan Doyle of the Sherlock Holmes fame, and also enjoyed Agatha Christie for a time.

I think I read Stephen's "Carrie" and was so creeped out by it, I never again touched anything of his!LOL

Great post, by the way. Loved getting to know you better. :)

Danielle Thorne said...

I haven't read Tami Hoag in years but I used to be the biggest fan. After learning so much about your background, I'm really looking forward to picking up one of your books. Also-I've never read SK's On Writing, but have always meant to. I appreciate the recommendation. My favorite writing book will always be Writing Down the Bones. I also got a lot out of Hooked. Enjoyed your blog post!

Al said...

Hi Anne,
Nice Blog.
I've nominated you for a Bingo Award.


Anne Patrick said...

Miss Mae, I can't imagine anyone being creeped out by a Stpehen King book:-). Thanks for stopping by.

Anne Patrick said...

Thanks for stopping by Danielle. I'll have to check out your suggestions. You're Author's Roast was a hoot. And Oliver is quite the hunk. He can serve me desert any day.

Anne Patrick said...

Thank you so much for the nomination Al. What a treat!