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Welcome to my self-indulgent location for the stories (good and bad) that I can't prevent myself from writing. All comments and criticisms welcome. I post on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Friday, December 10, 2010

My Own Personal Challenges

I've been reading (among many other things at once) On Writing by Stephen King. I enjoyed reading his books when I was younger. After having read every Christopher Pike novel published to that point in my life at least three times, Stephen King was the next step, moving into the world of adult horror/suspense/thriller/what-have-you. And, honestly, even if you don't like Stephen King's style or his stories or are simply jealous, you have to admit—the man's got something.

So when a friend loaned me his writing memoir a few months ago I thought, "Okay, sure. Seems like a good idea."

Then it sat on the shelf until I reached 50K for NaNo.

I thought to myself, "What now?" as I'm sure many other NaNo's do. So I picked up King's On Writing to see what advice I could glean on how to dust off my work boots and get back into it.

The book is full of fabulous advice. Above and beyond the tips like "Read a lot. Write a lot", he suggests setting a daily goal. Don't do anything until you reach your goal. Don't give up and walk away. Write while eating your lunch if you must. Obviously great advice, and something I could stand to implement into my own life.

But the piece of advice that has resonated with me so soundly today is about description. I tend to be an under-describer in my writing, particularly in my first drafts. As I read, I thought about my NaNo creation (whatever it may be) and about the setting. What had I described well? Ne, what had I described at all? Oh, it hurts to admit that I may have let the description slide some. But now I know at least one thing to focus on when I go back for rewrites.

There are plenty of other gems in King's On Writing. This is just the one that inspired me today.

What's some great writing advice you've been given/come across?

7 comments:

Tabitha Bird said...

Oh, I loved that book! I re-read it all the time :)

I'm not big on writing advise cause I think all writers need to have their own ways of making magic. But I do so love that Stephen King is an advocate for enjoying what you do, above all else be true to your own self when you write and enjoy the hell out of it. That is something I can live by!

Heidi said...

Loved that book! Haven't read any of his novels though, ironically enough, because I would have to check my closet before I went to sleep. Horror's not really my thing. But he did have some great advice in that book.

I think the best advice I've heard is the old "Don't get it right, get it written." Setting a daily goal is a great piece of advice, too.

Carol Riggs said...

Not sure I've ever read a Stephen King novel (not my genre), but last fall I read On Writing and it was really informative and inspiring! It's one of the main books people are always telling writers to read. :)

Hart Johnson said...

Stephen King is a MASTER at sucking the reader in, and I adore him as an author. He is a pantser and i've been frustrated with some of his books because he is hit and miss on endings because of that, but I almost always love the first 3/4 of his books and there are several that also have good endings.

Great that his advice is resonating. I am spare in description, too, but one thing I LOVE that he does is his use of repetition to build suspense... you see something... mostly innocuous. You see it again... something a little fishy... and each time it builds and builds until you are terrified of it. The Shining does this REALLY well. The music. The clink of bottles. The 'door'... REDRUM. All Work and no Play...

Summer Ross said...

Its funny actually I can't manage to get through any of King's books except "on writing" it is brilliant and I loved how he wrote it, showing everything. My favorite advice is never stop trying.

Hannah Mariska said...

I've heard a few people quote Stephen King as an example of the way things should be written, like its rule. So I've been a bit hesitant to read his book on writing. Your experience of it though makes me want to read it! i should have put his book on my christmas list!

Cheeseboy said...

Wish I was going to Phoenix.

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