Thursday, April 30, 2015

On Writing - Stephen King

On Writing: (By Stephen King):

I was reminded of this book by an old friend and so I dug it off of the shelf and took a side journey from my other stack of books to read it.  I got this book years ago and I really don't know why I hadn't bothered to read it before now.

The book is divided into three sections.  The first is composed of several vignettes and stories from King's past that are intended to give a glimpse into his inspiration for writing and his becoming a published writer.  The second is King answering questions about being a writer and the third is simply advice from King to anyone who wants to be a writer.

I suspect most people would think that the first section would be very interesting, the second less so and the third probably downright boring.  I found all three sections to be enlightening and entertaining.

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time (or if you've just recently started and went back and read some of the old stuff) you should have sussed out that I'm trying to become a published author myself. [1]  So, it stands to reason that I would like and care about King's advice on the topic. But even the second and third sections have their share of stories from King's life, so even a non-writer could enjoy them.

I read the book with a grain of salt expecting his advice to be things that I either don't do or don't want to do or perhaps can't do, but by and large I was pleased to find that most of his advice are already common practice for me.  I don't edit my stuff in later drafts with nearly as intentionally heavy cuts as King, but then again maybe I should.

Really my only problem with the book is that for the most part its message seems to be a sudden shift in its message at the end.  Most of the book seems to be saying: "Go out and write!  I don't care who you are or what your experiences are.  Give it a shot!  There is no right way to do it.  Just do it!"

But then at the end there is a long section about a semi-fictional author's history of trying to get published.  Which while informative, didn't really say anything that I hadn't guessed at or heard before and seemed to flow counter to the rest of the books message.  This section seemed to be saying, "If you want to be a successful writer, then you'd better do it something similar to this."

There is also a bit at the end about King's experience from fifteen years ago or so when he was hit by a van, was nearly killed and the surgeries and rehab he had to go through after.  The books was finished while the pain of this was still ongoing and it seems to go back to the original message and perhaps with a hint of, "Writing is Life.  Don't stop" thrown in for good measure.  I promise not to stop writing, now if I could just find someone to publish it.

On Writing: A

[1] - I have written four novels so far, but have yet to succeed in finding someone help me get them from my harddrive onto a bookshelf.  Anyone know of an agent looking for clients?


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