Tuesday, December 18, 2007


The question posed on the Writer’s Digest Forum asked what gift would a writer would like to receive to further his own craft. Some listed reference tools, like the Oxford English Dictionary. Others listed technology, like voice recorders for interviews. I listed books. Reading, in my opinion, is one of the best resources to improve one’s writing. By studying the works of others, one can understand issues of plot, character, scene and setting. Reading authors like Elmore Leonard can improve the understanding of what works in dialogue. While reading alone is not a miracle cure--there’s much to be said for physically putting the pen to paper--it is a far better resource than a whiz-bang software package that promises to support a writers specific needs. After all, how can a computer or a program help a person write better? Even spell checker is incapable of recognizing that some words, while spelled correctly, just do not fit the sentence. The point is, a writer can have all the techno-gadgets at her disposal and still produce a cumulative pile of illiterate crap.

This year marks my tenth anniversary to my wife. Four years into this writing adventure, after listening to the countless discussions from yours truly about writing, authors, sentences, dialogue, and so-on, she has come to understand just how BIG this writing thing is in my life. How could she not, what with all the chatter I give her on a daily basis? For an anniversary gift, then, she gave me a pair of leather bound bookends and two hard-back, collected volumes of novels by both Mark Twain and Jane Austen. What great gifts! The bookends are solid and heavy. And the books--complete and unabridged, with twelve classic novels combined--promise to give me hours of reading enjoyment and plenty of opportunity to study the craft of two of the greatest authors of all time. In fact, I plan to read at least one of these novels during the Christmas holiday.

Now to write some more…


  1. That sounds like a grate (spellcheck anyone?) gift. You are truly a renissance man. I probably mispelled that too.

    I have a have an idea for a screenplay. Want to help me develop it?

  2. Bring it on. I'm game for almost anything.

    By the way, can I add a link to your blog?