Writer’s Corner


Rusty Strait | Senior Reporter

Hardly a day goes by without someone asking me, “Rusty, I’d like to write a book.” That’s how this column started a couple of weeks ago. I expected a couple of comments, but I received a dozen responses in just two weeks.

Marge from Beaumont asked, “Which kind of book is the easiest for a first-time writer?”

The answer, Marge, is that they are all challenging if you don’t know what you’re doing. Once you’ve navigated your way through the do’s and don’ts, it becomes easier. I’ve often told my students this in a straightforward manner: Invest in some essential tools – three must-have books for any writer.

1. Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary

2. The Elements of Style

3. Roget’s Thesaurus

These three books form the writer’s Holy Trinity and are indispensable for writers at any stage of the game.

The next question caught me off guard because it came from three readers: “What makes you an authority?”

First and foremost, I’m not sure I’d consider myself an authority. The term “authority” can vary in its definition. Some argue that you’re an authority because you get published, while others say it’s because your book sells a million copies. For most new writers, the first step is often self-publishing. Your success depends on how many books you sell and the reviews you receive. Even Stephen King was surprised when he learned that his first book was given a substantial advance. You never truly know. Writing, however, is akin to prospecting for gold. You search through the stream until it runs dry or you strike the motherlode.

Now that this column is up and running, I eagerly anticipate more questions and comments. Share your successes and failures with me, and together, we can exchange experiences. Until next time, just saying,

Rusty Strait

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