Stephen King - On Writing
Why read this?
This title appealed to me as I had read a King novel and resonated with his style of writing completely. So much so that I was eager to discover how he developed his stories, where his idea’s came from and what format he used to structure his novels. I looked forward to reading and hopefully learning from this established and successful author.
I was comfortable with King’s writing style immediately and soon settled in to hear about his experiences in life - beginning as a young boy - that would later influence and even play a part in his books. The beginning chapters tell of the numerous house moves that he and his older brother endured as his mother struggled to settle and hold down a well paid job. It wasn’t long before I recognised the cellar of Annie Wilkes remote home in the book Misery
in one of his brief stays with a relative. This opened my eyes early on in the book - I was turning the pages quickly as the story of his life is interesting and entertaining - I anticipated more insight into the mind of Stephen King and read on.
I found a section about his visits to hospital with an ear infection, when very young, particularly interesting as he remembers the pain of his treatment so vividly and the promises of this won’t hurt and you may feel a small nip that were clearly untruths that adults in the medical profession often use. I could relate to this section as I too have had those promises and then the following torturous pain! I realised once I had read this section that I too had lots of vivid memories that could come in very useful when penning a story - or typing it as I would be doing.
Later in the book I was amazed to read that the early pages that King drafted for Carrie (his first successful novel) were tossed into the waste bin! If his wife, Tabatha, had not found them and encouraged him to continue then the book and film would not be with us today. This and the fact that he received numerous rejection tabs for his early offerings reassured me that even a writer as successful as he is began by doubting himself and being knocked back. This was inspiring and with the tip of ‘write for fun’ I felt motivated to get motoring with my own work.
I greedily consumed the pages that described how he came upon the concept of Carrie. It was fascinating. He tells the reader that ideas come along as flashes of insight sometimes and you as a budding author just need to learn to recognise them. This made perfect sense to me as I have found myself if I sit and struggle to get an idea rolling nothing comes and if it does it is contrived and therefore not my best work. However, when that flash (which is exactly the right description in my opinion) occurs I grasp it with both hands and bolt for my notepad to jot it down so that it is not forgotten. The flash provides imaginative and meaty storylines.
As the book begins the actual how to or as Stephen likes to call it toolbox section I am in my element. I’m with my writing guru here as I feel so comfortable with his philosophy - so much like my own.