May 19, 2011

I was halfway through the book before I realized that Stephen King’s On Writing is basically an auto-biography (the copy I have has been labeled Dewey Decimal 92, instead of 808 for writing).  I was beginning to despair when on page 122 he starts giving some advice.

I don’t think that anyone else could have gotten away with this book, but then maybe that’s the point.  He dares to be himself.  The first part is a biography, the second part is advice on writing, and the third part an account of being run down by a car and his continuing struggle to recover.

I have never been a horror buff, but I have great respect for someone who has written so much that has been transferred to movies and television.  To me that shows that his base ideas and characters have a strong foundation.  It shows that he has a gift for storytelling, one I want.  So I leaned forward to listen, metaphorically, as he imparted his wisdom.

He spoke of writing with the door closed and the door open.  With the door closed, you throw the story on the page, full speed.  With the door open, you invite trusted readers to give their opinion, you ask your inner ideal reader to tell you the flaws.

More gems:

  • “You must not come lightly to the blank page.”
  • avoid passive voice
  • the adverb is not your friend
  • If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.
  • the story exists already, you are just releasing it
  • write for your ideal writer (his is his wife)
  • get feedback- if everyone complains about one thing, fix it, if they all have different opinions, it’s a wash.
  • writing classes could drain your muse by questioning the work in progress
  • get an agent by sending a letter about yourself (this one seems a bit ..off).

 

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