The King On Writing

I have always had a begrudging respect for the "Master of Horror" Stephen King. While his genre is not my favorite, he has produced many classics and has become a legend. I mean, the general public recognizes his face. How often does that happen with authors? Rarely.

He's created some of the most classic horror stories of our generation, such as Carrie, IT, and The Shining. Even his novels that haven't become such classics are still unique and memorable: Salem's Lot, Christine, Misery, etc.

Though they have impacted the horror genre forever, I am still not a huge lover of his fiction works; Pet Sematary and Salem's Lot were great but Christine was predictable and about 100 pages too long and Dreamcatcher was forgettable.

But his novel for novelists, or at least those aspire to be so, was inspirational. I was blown away. Through an introduction that is very autobiographical, King maps out the path that took him to the page, and shares anything he feels might be useful for someone looking to find their own path. Note, he doesn't "give you the keys to the kingdom" because they simply don't exist.

He does talk about the importance of reading ("If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write"), having a place to write, setting goals ("I suggest a thousand words a day, and because I'm feeling magnanimous, I'll also suggest that you can take one day a week off, at least to begin with"), working with dialogue, and doing research, which is "a specialized kind of back story."

His narration is insightful, funny, and honest without pretension, and made me like him just a little bit more. I recommend this book to any author or person thinking about trying their hand at it. There is so much insight and inspiration between these pages, almost anyone who reads it will be putting pen to paper or fingers to keys.  But make sure your enthusiasm is prepared, because as the King says,

"You must not come lightly to the blank page."

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This work by H.E. Saunders is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.