Thursday, February 26, 2009
snow days and stephen king
It snowed last night and schools are closed today though I see blue sky outside my window. My stack of books is growing beside my writing chair. Always a happy feeling to sit beside a stack of books! And Amazon has more on the way:) I was in the Port Angeles library a couple of days ago checking out books for my mom who's here (she's reading J.A. Jance, by the way), and I came across a little book on writing. It's the first book I've ever read by Stephen King.
I'm afraid I'm not a horror fan any more than King is a fan of TFD but this little book, entitled, On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft, is really interesting. The cover isn't bloody or eerie or anything like that but decidedly unKing-like with flowers and a bay window and root cellar door (now that door does look sort of mysterious and unfriendly, on second glance) but I do like what he has to say about writing.
King writes almost every day, even Christmas Day, and feels strange when he isn't writing and even has trouble sleeping. "For me, not writing is the real work. When I'm writing, it's all the playground, and the worst three hours I ever spent there were still pretty good." Amen to that, I say!
When interviewers ask him why he writes what he writes, as if he's in control of his stories, he remembers the quote by SciFi writer, Alfred Bester, who said, "The book is the boss." Simply put, the book drives the author, the author doesn't drive the book.
Lastly, King wonders why some authors are so prolific (Briton John Creasey wrote 500 novels, some in two days, under 10 different names) and why others like the brilliant Harper Lee and her solo To Kill a Mockingbird, are not. He says, "If God gives you something you can do, why in God's name wouldn't you do it?" Amen again!
I made one surprising discovery about Stephen King. Not only is he a master horror writer, he is a very humorous writer. If you like to write (and laugh) you should read this book. My only caution is that while I abhor profanity, King does not. But he offers a world of advice to writers everywhere, of all genres, and I learned a few tricks of the trade I'd not considered.
Now, off to play in that snow!