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jst5150
07-20-2006, 09:28 PM
If you're a patron of Mr. King, here's his "everything you need to know about writing in 10 minutes article." Link:

http://mikeshea.net/Everything_You_Need_to_Kn.html

Also, if you have not, check out the AMAZING collection of work under he "blue rock" link below. Fellow AbWrs have scribed some fantastic poetry, with no over 90 works published. Thanks to William Haskins for providing the catalyst.

vr, Jason

emeraldcite
07-20-2006, 10:09 PM
That was a good article, although the advice on agents is dated.

[Edit: The article was published in 1988 when agents were still culling only 10%]

Side note: King also started his career in the seventies. His writing advice is dead-on, though.

Maprilynne
07-20-2006, 10:15 PM
Very nice. And much appreciated, thanks!

Maprilynne

TemlynWriting
07-20-2006, 10:53 PM
Great information and advice, aside from what emeraldcite mentioned. Definitely information worth recommending.

blackbird
07-20-2006, 11:49 PM
A great article, but I have to wonder, seventeen years after the fact, if his advice about shopping a first-time novel directly to publishers, sans agent, could still hold water? With so many houses deadset against unagented material (at least so they say) would a new writer in 2006 be likely to benefit from taking King's advice? I can see a new writer being told to forget an agent and concentrate on selling short fiction, provided they write short fiction, but the advice for first-time novelists seems a bit misguided to me. But then, I don't think King has ever thought much of agents, period. To this day (as far as I know) he only deals with a lawyer.

Most of what he had to say is right on, though. I love his wit and no-nonsense approach to the business.

Jamesaritchie
07-21-2006, 01:32 AM
A great article, but I have to wonder, seventeen years after the fact, if his advice about shopping a first-time novel directly to publishers, sans agent, could still hold water? With so many houses deadset against unagented material (at least so they say) would a new writer in 2006 be likely to benefit from taking King's advice? I can see a new writer being told to forget an agent and concentrate on selling short fiction, provided they write short fiction, but the advice for first-time novelists seems a bit misguided to me. But then, I don't think King has ever thought much of agents, period. To this day (as far as I know) he only deals with a lawyer.

Most of what he had to say is right on, though. I love his wit and no-nonsense approach to the business.

Really? I didn't know King had a problem with agents. I've never heard him say anything bad about agents, other than an unpublished writer usually can't find a good agent. King has had two or three agents, but at his size and stature needs a lawyer for many things.

But, yes, his advice is somewhat outdated. It was a whole lot easier to approach publishers on your own in 1988. A new writer can, however, still approach Harlequin, some SF and fantasy publishes, and most mid-size publishers, without an agent. There's no doubt, though, that it's easier having an agent now for any publisher.

blackbird
07-21-2006, 06:15 AM
Really? I didn't know King had a problem with agents. I've never heard him say anything bad about agents, other than an unpublished writer usually can't find a good agent. King has had two or three agents, but at his size and stature needs a lawyer for many things.

But, yes, his advice is somewhat outdated. It was a whole lot easier to approach publishers on your own in 1988. A new writer can, however, still approach Harlequin, some SF and fantasy publishes, and most mid-size publishers, without an agent. There's no doubt, though, that it's easier having an agent now for any publisher.

Maybe not a problem per se insofar as bad-mouthing them, but I've known him to make other comments similar to the view he expresses here, basically stating that writers don't really need them, that an agent is just more money out of a writer's pocket, and so forth. I have heard that he does use them occasionally, but that most of his dealings are done via a lawyer. Of course, I wouldn't really profess to know what his actual feelings are in regard to agents, but some of his comments have led me to believe he doesn't hold the profession in the highest regard. I may be misinterpreting his comments, but that's the impression I get.

stephblake24
07-21-2006, 06:31 AM
Am I wrong or delirious or do SOME of the big houses still accept unsolicited query letters? In my opinion, it seems as hard to get an agent to even respond to a query as it is to be a big publisher to ask for a partial. So we could spend years waiting for something to happen either way?

argenianpoet
07-21-2006, 06:42 AM
A great article, but I have to wonder, seventeen years after the fact, if his advice about shopping a first-time novel directly to publishers, sans agent, could still hold water? With so many houses deadset against unagented material (at least so they say) would a new writer in 2006 be likely to benefit from taking King's advice? I can see a new writer being told to forget an agent and concentrate on selling short fiction, provided they write short fiction, but the advice for first-time novelists seems a bit misguided to me. But then, I don't think King has ever thought much of agents, period. To this day (as far as I know) he only deals with a lawyer.

Most of what he had to say is right on, though. I love his wit and no-nonsense approach to the business.

I agree. I actually read that article while standing in a bookstore one day, and when I got to that part I laughed. It seemed to contradict everything I had read about getting an agent, and from what I understand King started out with an agent. And the part about waiting until you had something to steal before getting one really didn't make any sense to me either.

"And remember Stephen King's First Rule of Writers and Agents, learned by bitter personal experience: You don't need one until you're making enough for someone to steal ... and if you're making that much, you'll be able to take your pick of good agents.And remember Stephen King's First Rule of Writers and Agents, learned by bitter personal experience: You don't need one until you're making enough for someone to steal ... and if you're making that much, you'll be able to take your pick of good agents."

Somehow, I thought he was paid to say that, but then somehow that didn't make any sense. Would Stephen King steer new writers in the wrong direction? I mean surely this cannot be true. Most of the big houses won't consider your novel unless it's agented and even then it has to go through a rigorous trial of acceptance. I think Tor accepts a submission package from new writers and so does small presses, but if you're are shooting for Viking status then you NEED an agent. If anyone else thinks they can add to this list of BIG PUBLISHERS that accept submission packages from new writers then by all means do; I am all eyes. LOL! Personally, I don't think this is real good advice, but then again I could be wrong; that's just my take on it. Who knows?

Kirby Mccauley was King's first agent, and he was the one that sold Carrie if I am not mistaken. Here's the link of the man that discovered Bachman really was Stephen King...

http://www.liljas-library.com/bachman_exposed.php

Jamesaritchie
07-21-2006, 06:07 PM
Maybe not a problem per se insofar as bad-mouthing them, but I've known him to make other comments similar to the view he expresses here, basically stating that writers don't really need them, that an agent is just more money out of a writer's pocket, and so forth. I have heard that he does use them occasionally, but that most of his dealings are done via a lawyer. Of course, I wouldn't really profess to know what his actual feelings are in regard to agents, but some of his comments have led me to believe he doesn't hold the profession in the highest regard. I may be misinterpreting his comments, but that's the impression I get.

King has a full-time agent, and has since Carrie. He did sell Carrie on his own, but got an agent immediately thereafter, and has had an full-time agent every since. I can't imagine him saying an agent is just more money out of a writer's pocket. Agents have been the ones who got him his best deals and highest advances. It was an agent who landed him a seventeen million dollar advance, which at the time was the largest is publishing history.

As I understand it, King uses a lawyer quite a bit because he's into several areas of business that are outside any agent's area of expertise.

As Miss Snark says, if he came to her wanting an agent she'd have to say no because she isn't qualified to handle everything he does.

Jamesaritchie
07-21-2006, 06:14 PM
Am I wrong or delirious or do SOME of the big houses still accept unsolicited query letters? In my opinion, it seems as hard to get an agent to even respond to a query as it is to be a big publisher to ask for a partial. So we could spend years waiting for something to happen either way?

Some do, but being willing to look at a query letter, or even a manuscript, is not the same thing as buying a novel. Even many large publishers who have always looked at queries and manuscripts from writers without agents never actually buy one. Looking is more a goodwill gesture than anything else. A number of such publishers haven't actually bought anything directly from a writer in years and years. Sometimes decades.

As difficult as it sometimes seems to attract a good agent, attracting a good publisher without one is much tougher. The first thing any editor wonders is why you couldn't get an agent.

And this is the thing. If you can't write something that will make an agent say yes, odds are you'll have an even tougher time writing something that will make an editor say yes. Very few publishers employ first readers in teh traditional sense these days. They've turned this job over to agents. They depend on agents to weed out the bad writing, and to pass along the good. When anyting comes directly from a writer, it hasn't gone thrugh the weeding process, and since the publishers has no first readers to do the weeding, there isn't much chance of success.

argenianpoet
07-22-2006, 04:30 AM
I can't imagine him saying an agent is just more money out of a writer's pocket.

James, I am curious, have you read the above ariticle, because for some reason I get the feeling that you have not, but maybe I am wrong. Here it is again just in case:

http://mikeshea.net/Everything_You_Need_to_Kn.html

Toward the very end he makes a very strange remark; one that I, personally, could not believe he even said!

NicoleJLeBoeuf
07-22-2006, 04:55 AM
Toward the very end he makes a very strange remark; one that I, personally, could not believe he even said!I'm sure you don't actually mean to send everyone off on a game of "I Spy," but still--why don't you just quote the bit you're commenting on? That would make it much easier for everyone else to know what exactly you "could not believe he had even said."

emeraldcite
07-22-2006, 05:29 AM
James, I am curious, have you read the above ariticle, because for some reason I get the feeling that you have not, but maybe I am wrong. Here it is again just in case:

http://mikeshea.net/Everything_You_Need_to_Kn.html

Toward the very end he makes a very strange remark; one that I, personally, could not believe he even said!
__________________

I'm confused about why you don't think james read the article.

Jamesaritchie
07-22-2006, 06:22 AM
James, I am curious, have you read the above ariticle, because for some reason I get the feeling that you have not, but maybe I am wrong. Here it is again just in case:

http://mikeshea.net/Everything_You_Need_to_Kn.html

Toward the very end he makes a very strange remark; one that I, personally, could not believe he even said!

I've not only read it, I've probably read it fifty times. I even have the original 1988 version. Which means I read it first when it was originally published. I've loaned it out at least five or six times, and I've read it to a couple of writing groups. I've also referred many writers online to the same article.

What's the strange remark? Do you mean what he says about agents? None of that is new.

kristie911
07-22-2006, 06:44 AM
Excellent advice from a master of his craft. This part got me:

"Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. "

I'm a notorious thesaurus user...maybe I should rethink it. I mean, the man has millions of books in print...he has to know something, right?

AncientEagle
07-22-2006, 06:57 AM
Excellent advice from a master of his craft. This part got me:

"Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. "

I'm a notorious thesaurus user...maybe I should rethink it. I mean, the man has millions of books in print...he has to know something, right?

I have to respectfully disagree with him on that point. I often use a thesaurus, not to find a fancy word, but when I want to avoid using the same word I used a little earlier but am still talking about the same thing. My memory tends to go blank at those times.

Gee! You suppose that's why I don't have a best-seller out?

kristie911
07-22-2006, 07:02 AM
Eagle, that's when I use mine too...to avoid repetition. But he makes a good point of things like that interrupting the creative flow. I do find it disruptive...maybe rewrites would be a better place to pull out the thesaurus.

argenianpoet
07-22-2006, 07:49 AM
What's the strange remark? Do you mean what he says about agents? None of that is new.


"And remember Stephen King's First Rule of Writers and Agents, learned by bitter personal experience: You don't need one until you're making enough for someone to steal ... and if you're making that much, you'll be able to take your pick of good agents."


Okay, is he saying that new writers stand a better chance getting a publisher rather than an agent first? If that's what he's saying then in some instances he would be right. I was not aware that this was an "old" article; I was under the impression that he had just wrote it. So, basically, the bigger publishers were more willing to take on unagented material back then, but not so much now, is that much right? I'll let you take it from here...

novelator
07-22-2006, 08:00 AM
Very few publishers employ first readers in teh traditional sense these days. They've turned this job over to agents. They depend on agents to weed out the bad writing, and to pass along the good. When anyting comes directly from a writer, it hasn't gone thrugh the weeding process, and since the publishers has no first readers to do the weeding, there isn't much chance of success.

At the risk of stirring the pot here, if publishers are using, or employing agents to do the vetting, then why don't the agents' percentages come out of the publishers' take instead of the writer's, who is getting very little in the way of royalties to begin with?

Mari

Jamesaritchie
07-22-2006, 08:32 AM
Excellent advice from a master of his craft. This part got me:

"Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. "

I'm a notorious thesaurus user...maybe I should rethink it. I mean, the man has millions of books in print...he has to know something, right?

He's right about the thesaurus. This advice goes back at least as far as Mark Twain, and I must have read or heard the same advice a hundred times. It's good advice.

Thesauri are dangerous beasts. First, assuming you read as often as you should, talk to people routinely, and watch TV, the vocabulary you have is the one you want to use in a book. It's the vocabulary that will sound the most like real people in the real world. If you haven't heard of a word, or wouldn't use it in daily speech, odds are your readers wouldn't, either. Neither would teh characters in your story. It's going to ring false.

The first word you think of is probably the best possible word to use.

Thesauri are dangerous because they tempt you with fancy words, but they are deadly because they tempt you with simple words.

And synonyms are not all equal. They do not all have the same meaning.

Jamesaritchie
07-22-2006, 08:52 AM
At the risk of stirring the pot here, if publishers are using, or employing agents to do the vetting, then why don't the agents' percentages come out of the publishers' take instead of the writer's, who is getting very little in the way of royalties to begin with?

Mari

Because then it would be easier and far cheaper to go back to employing first readers, and writers would have no one to negotiate for them.

Pubishers do not employ agents to do this, they simply use them to do this. Why employ first readers when you know agents will do the same job without being on your payroll?

The agent works for the writer, tries to get as much money as humanly possible out of the publisher, and definitelty earns far more than her fifteen percent.

Think about it for a second. If you're an agent, and you're getting paid on a percentage basis, wouldn't you want the person paying you to receive the highest percentage and the best contract possible? If publishers paid the agent, the agent would be doing everything possible to make sure publishers revceived a great deal, and writers received a lousy deal.

And in reality, if you have a good agent, the publisher is paying her because the agent is negotiating hard to get you the most money possible so she can make the most money possible. Any good agent earns far more than her fifteen percent.

And, of course, an agent keeps working for the writer with other publishers, subsidiary rights, new projests, etc.

Jamesaritchie
07-22-2006, 09:30 AM
"And remember Stephen King's First Rule of Writers and Agents, learned by bitter personal experience: You don't need one until you're making enough for someone to steal ... and if you're making that much, you'll be able to take your pick of good agents."


Okay, is he saying that new writers stand a better chance getting a publisher rather than an agent first? If that's what he's saying then in some instances he would be right. I was not aware that this was an "old" article; I was under the impression that he had just wrote it. So, basically, the bigger publishers were more willing to take on unagented material back then, but not so much now, is that much right? I'll let you take it from here...



Yes, that is what he was saying, and in 1988 it was good advice. Conglomerates were really just getting started, publishers still employed first readers, and it was a heck of a lot easier to find a good publisher to read your manuscript without going through an agent.

Bertelsmann, for example, bought Bantam in 1980, but didn't buy Doubleday, King's first publisher, until 1986, and didn't buy Random House, which truly made them a giant, until 1998.

I think King did have an early bad experience with an agent, but he still uses one, and even in this article say other writers should get one. He just believed is was easier to find a publisher first, and use that to get a good, honest agent second. And in 1988 a bunch of genre writers did just that.

Getting published can stil be done without an agent, if you write in certain genres and submit to the right publishers, but it's a heck of a lot harder now, and with many top publishers, it's impossible.

And, really, it's no harder to land a good agent now than it was landing a good publisher then. Both ask for the same thing, and if you can't write something that will attract a good agent, odds are pretty high it won't attract a good publisher, either.

Which is not, of course, saying that it's ever easy.

The biggest change is not so much in who looks at your writing, but in what they want to see. It probaly doesn't matter much whether your first reader works for a publisher or is an agent, but most publishers back then wanted sample chapters, and often the complete manuscript. Since then, writing has turned into the query business.

Now you have to be able to write a good query letter to attract an agent or an editor, and this throws a lot of new writers. It's why I think it's vital to get at least a couple of pages of your writing itself in front of an agent or editor, and to get sample chapters in front of them if at all possible.

Jaws
07-24-2006, 07:37 PM
King's real first rule should be:
Context matters. There is no piece of advice that one can offer about writing, let alone writing for publication, that applies in every possible context—including this one.
For example, King's "rule" about agents applies/applied to situations in which all of submission was being made from the 1950s through approximately 1991; the submission is a single book-length work of commercial fiction; the writer has neither significant previous publication credits nor an established platform related to the book's subject matter; and the writer has no significant academic credentials, such as an ongoing instructorship (tenure-track or otherwise)are true. If any of those conditions fails, King's advice has far too many exceptions to be helpful, let alone a "rule."

Aside 1: Bertelsmann has been "big" since the 1920s. It just didn't have a huge presence in the American book trade market until the mid-1990s (actually, it did well before the Random House purchase, but that's a long and boring explanation that will only confuse people who think "publishing" means only "book-length trade fiction").

Aside 2: I've found that King is far from unique in overemphasizing the conditions he faced when "breaking in" and treating those conditions as if they continue to hold today. Some of them do, but many don't. (That those conditions are also from the personal experience of the author doesn't stop the author from claiming that they are universal, either.) I don't claim to have a full, comprehensive view of things… but, due to the nature of my practice, I can guarantee that I'm exposed to a much greater variety of the "industry's practices" than is any single author, putting me in a better—albeit not sufficient, from a statistical point of view—position to discuss "standards" than authors recalling experiences from decades in the past. That said, reread my opening comment.

Jamesaritchie
07-24-2006, 08:02 PM
King's real first rule should be:Context matters. There is no piece of advice that one can offer about writing, let alone writing for publication, that applies in every possible context—including this one.For example, King's "rule" about agents applies/applied to situations in which all of
submission was being made from the 1950s through approximately 1991;
the submission is a single book-length work of commercial fiction;
the writer has neither significant previous publication credits nor an established platform related to the book's subject matter; and
the writer has no significant academic credentials, such as an ongoing instructorship (tenure-track or otherwise)are true. If any of those conditions fails, King's advice has far too many exceptions to be helpful, let alone a "rule."

Aside 1: Bertelsmann has been "big" since the 1920s. It just didn't have a huge presence in the American book trade market until the mid-1990s (actually, it did well before the Random House purchase, but that's a long and boring explanation that will only confuse people who think "publishing" means only "book-length trade fiction").

Aside 2: I've found that King is far from unique in overemphasizing the conditions he faced when "breaking in" and treating those conditions as if they continue to hold today. Some of them do, but many don't. (That those conditions are also from the personal experience of the author doesn't stop the author from claiming that they are universal, either.) I don't claim to have a full, comprehensive view of things… but, due to the nature of my practice, I can guarantee that I'm exposed to a much greater variety of the "industry's practices" than is any single author, putting me in a better—albeit not sufficient, from a statistical point of view—position to discuss "standards" than authors recalling experiences from decades in the past. That said, reread my opening comment.

I don't think King does put much emphasis on how things were when he broke in. If you read what he says now, it's very different than what he had to say in 1988.

I know how big Bertelsmann was before 1988, but I also know publishing changed radically after 1988, and it was largely do to the steady increase of conglomerate publishers, and the purchase of Random House made a huge difference in how things worked for new writers.

Context matters. There is no piece of advice that one can offer about writing, let alone writing for publication, that applies in every possible context—including this one.

True enough, but, I think, largely meaningless. No matter how many exceptions there are, they remain exceptions, and not the smart way to play the game.

It was a heck of a lot easier to approach large publisher without an agent in 1988 than it is now, and, as important, it was much tougher to find a really good agent willing to take on a new writer. You have to look at both sides, not just the publishers.

Exceptions aside, there were many more genre writers who sold their first novel without an agent in 1988 and before than there are now. Today, fewer publishers are willing to even read a query, and there are many more agents who take on new writers.

But saying his advice wasn't helpful in 1988 simply isn't right. In 1988, it was the smart way to go for the vast majority of genre writers, and this is the group he was aiming his advice at. It's still good advice if you're aiming smaller genre novels at smaller genre publishers, the kind top agants don't particularly like to deal with because the money is so small.

Elizabeth Slick
07-24-2006, 08:10 PM
Thanks! There is some good advice there. I like that man's imagination in his books.

SC Harrison
07-24-2006, 08:15 PM
The first word you think of is probably the best possible word to use.

Thesauri are dangerous because they tempt you with fancy words, but they are deadly because they tempt you with simple words.

And synonyms are not all equal. They do not all have the same meaning. I use a thesaurus most often for memory recall, if the first word that pops into my head doesn't feel right in the context of the sentence. It beats the heck out of sitting there with your head cocked to the side, mumbling "What's that word?", or smacking your forehead. The thesaurus is a tool, not a multi-tool. Some words are so common they almost can't be repetitious (walking, talking) and shoudn't be replaced by a more obscure word. Other words do stand out if you use them too frequently, but that may mean the whole sentence (or paragraph) is repetitious, not just the word. I abhor absolutes (except AbsoluteWrite). Give me guidelines on proper usage of a tool, but don't tell me to not use it at all.

jbal
07-24-2006, 09:13 PM
I was stumped not long ago trying to think of other words to use in place of "darkness", which otherwise would appear quite frequently in my MS. I used a thesaurus and guess what...there aren't any. And I was thinking I was an idiot.

Sassenach
07-24-2006, 09:25 PM
King is the man, and I recommend this and his On Writing to every working or aspiring writer.

He's one of the people I'd most like to hang out with.

ChunkyC
07-24-2006, 09:39 PM
Me too.

As for the thesaurus thing, the crux of the matter to my mind is to not rely on it, don't let it become a crutch. Personally, I use my dictionaries far more than my thesaurus. As mentioned above, many synonyms have subtly different meanings. They should, otherwise why do we need another word?

Sometimes a thesaurus will lead you to a word that you discover is more accurate for what you're trying to say once you've popped open the dictionary and double-checked its meaning.

argenianpoet
07-24-2006, 10:44 PM
Me too.

As for the thesaurus thing, the crux of the matter to my mind is to not rely on it, don't let it become a crutch. Personally, I use my dictionaries far more than my thesaurus. As mentioned above, many synonyms have subtly different meanings. They should, otherwise why do we need another word?

Sometimes a thesaurus will lead you to a word that you discover is more accurate for what you're trying to say once you've popped open the dictionary and double-checked its meaning.

I think that the thesaurus and dictionary go hand in hand, and trying to use a thesaurus without a dictionary is stupid, because you could end up with a word that does not fit your sentence at all. Words have connotations also and that is something to take into consideration. Take for instance the words gay and queer. They used to mean happy and weird, but now they mean homosexual. Another example would be the word notorious. The dictionary meaning is generally known or talked of; but its connotation infers widely and unfavorably known. These words might not work well with their original meanings as they have been changed over the years and this applys to a lot of words in the english language. Just something to think about before choosing words randomly from a thesaurus...

Jaws
07-24-2006, 11:50 PM
No matter how many exceptions there are, they remain exceptions, and not the smart way to play the game.

It was a heck of a lot easier to approach large publisher without an agent in 1988 than it is now, and, as important, it was much tougher to find a really good agent willing to take on a new writer. You have to look at both sides, not just the publishers.

Exceptions aside, there were many more genre writers who sold their first novel without an agent in 1988 and before than there are now. Today, fewer publishers are willing to even read a query, and there are many more agents who take on new writers.

But saying his advice wasn't helpful in 1988 simply isn't right. In 1988, it was the smart way to go for the vast majority of genre writers, and this is the group he was aiming his advice at. It's still good advice if you're aiming smaller genre novels at smaller genre publishers, the kind top agants don't particularly like to deal with because the money is so small.

If you're going to admit that what Mr King has to say applies only to "genre writers," it seems to me that you're extolling an exception as the paradigm. Fiction is itself an exception to the "industry" as a whole, and commercial category fiction is more so. And that's all I was saying: Too often—and I disagree with your interpretation of King's emphasis on his own experience, but there is room for interpretation—comments about "how publishing works" forget that they're really "how [category x] publishing works" at most, and far more often are limited to one particular writer's experience. (The irony that the writer has even has enough experience to be speaking on the matter goes too often unacknowledged.)

NicoleJLeBoeuf
07-25-2006, 12:36 AM
Take for instance the words gay and queer. They used to mean happy and weird, but now they mean homosexual.Except that, if someone in the year 2006 needed a dictionary and a thesaurus to know that, I'd say it was a symptom of a problem that went a lot deeper than anything those two books could help with. They had obviously been living in a cave, or locked up in a tower, or hadn't spoken to anyone outside their immediate family who were themselves extremely isolated since, say, 1945. They would therefore find it very hard to write convincingly about modern life, I think.

Which only points back to what people were saying about having a decent vocabulary just from reading, talking, watching, and listening to the language as she is used today. By all means, kill your TV, suce, but don't neglect to get out into the world and interact with it a bit.

SC Harrison
07-25-2006, 12:50 AM
I think that the thesaurus and dictionary go hand in hand, and trying to use a thesaurus without a dictionary is stupid, because you could end up with a word that does not fit your sentence at all. I agree, and I would also add: even a word you are familiar with may turn out to be one you really don't understand. There have been several occasions I used a thesaurus and realized none of the synonyms matched what I wanted, because I didn't really understand the word to begin with, and had been using it incorrectly for years. A few of these have been pointed out to me by other AW members, who I would like to thank. :( I mean, :)

blacbird
07-25-2006, 01:40 AM
King is the man, and I recommend this and his On Writing to every working or aspiring writer.

He's one of the people I'd most like to hang out with.

He can probably pick up the bar tab.

caw.