If you’re a regular to this blog, being the horror fan that I am, you know I’m a Stephen King fan. But did you also know King wrote a book on the craft of writing? I’ve read it a few times and still refer back to it on a regular basis. It may also be within easy reach of today’s author, Joseph Lewis. Welcome to Books & Such, Joseph!
I’ve been reading, On Writing by Stephen King and I see myself rereading it for a long time. It’s broken into two parts. The first walks us through his life and how it influenced his writing. For instance, there were specific individuals who influenced Carrie; a confession of alcoholism and addiction that influenced The Shining. There were other anecdotes that I found myself laughing out loud, especially the story about poison ivy and the story about his brother and him causing a brief blackout. Because I am in education (teacher, coach, counselor and now administrator) for forty-one years, I understand the struggle for money and the struggle for time. I felt reassured that he, too, was rejected more than once. Instead of quitting, he stuck all the rejections on a nail above the desk where he wrote. When the rejections added up and bent the nail, he claims he used a spike. That story comforted me in that as successful as he is, he started out just like all writers.
The second part dealt with his rules and tips for writers. I liked the analogy of the toolbox for writers, the importance of grammar, and his caution against using adverbs in our writing (though I don’t necessarily totally abstain).
I think the most valuable piece of the book is the way he paints pictures with words. More than once I found myself with him in the basement, walking through the woods. I pictured him teaching his students, slaving away over a typewriter. I heard the encouragement from his wife and I found myself in disbelief, yet happy when he received the phone call about selling Carrie.
There’s only one other book on writing that has had this big an impact on me. It is the bible on dialogue, William Noble’s Shut Up, he explained! I’ve read that book so much that the pages are yellowed and threaten to fall out because the spine is cracked. Both books deserve and need to be in any writer’s arsenal.
Joseph’s Newest Release:
The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay, who had killed his cousin the previous summer.
Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else, especially George or members of his family. The three detectives come to realize that the ring has its roots in a high school among the students and staff.
Joseph Lewis has been in education for forty-one years and counting as a teacher, coach, counselor and now as an administrator. He uses his psychology and counseling background and his knowledge and fondness for kids in crafting his characters and dialogue. He has taken creative writing and screen writing courses at UCLA and USC.
Lewis has published four books, all available on Amazon and each to excellent reviews: Taking Lives (August 2014) the prequel to the Lives Trilogy; Stolen Lives (November 2014) Book One of the Lives Trilogy; Shattered Lives (March 2015) Book Two of the Trilogy; and Splintered Lives (November 2015) Book Three of the Trilogy. His fifth novel, Caught in a Web drops April 2018 from Black Rose Writing.
Born and raised in Wisconsin, Lewis has been happily married for twenty-five years to his wife, Kim. Together they have three wonderful children: Wil (deceased July 2014), Hannah and Emily and they now reside in Virginia.
Inspirational blog: Simple Thoughts From A Complicated Mind, Sort Of https://jrlewis.blogspot.com