Thursday, October 20, 2011

And the writer was...


Kristin got it right (in yesterday's post). The author of that statement (about improving your writing skill) was Stephen King in On Writing. I still don't know where I stand on his thought. I kind of agree with one of my commenters who said you can't teach the art of telling a story, but the skill of writing it can be improved.


In On Writing, King told about his road to fame which was fun to read. Can you believe he couldn't afford to keep his phone on and was writing in a laundry room when the letter came that Carrie had sold paperback rights for $400,000?

I also liked that he said even though writing is a huge part of your life, it need not be the center of your universe. He talks A LOT about how important his wife and family are to him, and I loved that.

I'm not sure I agree with all of his writing tips, for instance, he said writing conferences and classes don't do a whole lot besides affirm to you that spending your time writing is worthwhile.

But, I learned lots of other cool stuff. I loved his advice that when you write your first draft, you write with the door closed. Don't let anyone else in on your thoughts and just go gung ho. He said don't take more than a day off a WIP at a time or else you will lose your momentum. He said a rough draft shouldn't take longer than three to five months. When you write your second draft, write with the door open.

Another interesting tidbit he shared was this formula: second draft= first draft - 10%. He said he naturally was an adder of words, not a deleter of words, but since he's learned that formula his writing has greatly improved.

All in all, it was a good craft book and I enjoyed it.

Have you read this book? Are you a fan of Stephen King's fiction? What do you think of him?

9 comments:

Melanie Stanford said...

I've never read this but a lot of people recommend it as the #1 book for writers. There are a few who don't like it so much though.
I like the idea of writing your first draft with the door closed, although I find brainstorming with someone during that first draft can be really helpful.

E.R. King said...

I liked everything about the book but the profanity. I'm not a fan of curse words. Other than that, it was entertaining and informative. It's in my library.

Abby said...

Very interesting. I agree. I think there are some skills that you can learn but you need to have a certain amount of talent too. I need to read this still. Sounds interesting.

i'm erin. said...

Steven King has the most thought-provoking tips on writing. He's pretty amazing.

Jessica R. Patch said...

I haven't read this book. Stephen King scares the crap out of me! But not nearly as bad as John Saul. Having said that, I tried to read one of his books a few months ago and I couldn't get into it. It was the one where the cell phones turned people into zombies. Nah, couldn't get with that. Crazy clowns, dogs, cars. I'm on board. But I have to drawn the line somewhere, right?

Jessie Humphries said...

He generally creeps me out...just looking at him. Or thinking about him. But these are great tips.

Kristina P. said...

I think the last book I read was Cujo. Haven't read any of his new things. He doesn't have enough pictures of celebrities having nipple "slips."

Rebecca Kiel said...

King is definitely a discovery writer. His second draft=first draft: 10% is validating for me and my own discovery process.

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