Jul 062016
 

On Writing by Stephen King is not just a book about writing, but also a memoir about the craft and the life of King. I agreed with him wholeheartedly at points, grudgingly at others, but King’s advice is still a source of inspiration for me. I’ve read it numerous times and I’m sure I’ll read it again.

If you don’t own the book, the article below has a few helpful bits of advice from the book. I’m still struggling with a few of the bits listed. #3 and #4 (Don’t waste time trying to please people and Write primarily for yourself) go together for me. It’s not that I have a hard time writing for myself, it’s the blasted editing that gets me. I’m hoping some day that others will read my work. I want them to be pleased, but the truth of the matter is, I write because I love it. I write what I want to write, not what I think others will want to read. It’s during the editing phase that I start worrying about pleasing people.

And remember, as King says “the road to hell is paved with adverbs.” I’m still working on that one, too.

Check out the article, but if you get the chance, even if you’re not a writer, read the whole book. King has so much more to say about writing. And his memoir is an interesting and entertaining read.

Timeless advice from bestselling author Stephen King on how to be an excellent writer.

Source: Stephen King on how to write – Business Insider


Jan 102016
 

Another surprise sequel from Stephen King. I’ve always loved the movie The Shining and when I read there was a sequel, I was excited to read it.

I’ve never read The Shining and now that I’m reading the sequel, I wish I had read it. I can’t imagine anything better than Jack Nickolson, but I feel like there are some things I missed because I didn’t read the book.

I’m enjoying seeing what happened to little Danny after the events at the Overlook. I highly recommend Doctor Sleep for anyone that enjoyed the book or the movie The Shining. I’m not done yet, but I’m anxious to see what happens next.

Stephen King returns to the character and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.

On highways across America, a tribe of people called the True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, the True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the steam that children with the shining produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel, where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant shining power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”

Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of devoted readers of The Shining and satisfy anyone new to this icon in the King canon.

Summary from Amazon.com

Nov 172015
 

I’ve read The Talisman several times. It’s near the top of my long list of favorite books, so when I finally noticed that Black House is actually a sequel to The Talisman, I had to pick it up. I just started reading it, but I’m excited to see what happens.

You know, I should probably actually write down that list of favorite books sometime so I know what the top twenty or so actually are. At some point, someone is going to notice that I have fifty books claiming to be in my top ten favorites.

The acclaimed #1 New York Times and internationally bestselling horror novel from the undisputed King of Horror, Stephen King’s Black House is now reprinted for a modern-day audience.

Twenty years ago, a boy named Jack Sawyer traveled to a parallel universe called the Territories to save his mother and her Territories “Twinner” from an agonizing death that would have brought cataclysm to the other world. Now Jack is a retired Los Angeles homicide detective living in the nearly nonexistent hamlet of Tamarack, Wisconsin. He has no recollection of his adventures in the Territories, and was compelled to leave the police force when an odd, happenstance event threatened to awaken those memories.

When a series of gruesome murders occur in western Wisconsin that are reminiscent of those committed several decades ago by a madman named Albert Fish, the killer is dubbed “the Fishman,” and Jack’s buddy, the local chief of police, begs Jack to help the inexperienced force find him. But are these new killings merely the work of a disturbed individual, or has a mysterious and malignant force been unleashed in this quiet town? What causes Jack’s inexplicable waking dreams—if that is what they are—of robins’ eggs and red feathers? It’s almost as if someone is trying to tell him something. As this cryptic message becomes increasingly impossible to ignore, Jack is drawn back to the Territories and to his own hidden past, where he may find the soul-strength to enter a terrifying house at the end of a deserted tract of forest, there to encounter the obscene and ferocious evils sheltered within it.

Summary from Amazon.com

Nov 072013
 
Image from PhotoXpress

If you knew you wouldn’t be here tomorrow; what would you do today?

I thought a lot about this question and what the “right” answer would be. Throw a death day party was at the top of the list along with finally visit Scotland, but there was something else at the back of my mind that I really wanted to do.

Assuming that I knew well enough in advance when my last day was going to be so I had time to tell everyone I loved them, gave away my possessions that my husband wouldn’t have any use for, and all of the other “end of life” things we all want to do but often don’t have the chance, I’d do something somewhat selfish with my last day on Earth.

maine-(1)The day before my husband and I would fly to Maine and spend the night in a cozy bed and breakfast. I’ve seen pictures of Maine in the fall and I’ve always wanted to go. The beautiful hues of the changing trees, the crystal clear waters, the crisp, salty air. It looks like a nature photographers dream. Hopefully I’d have a chance to post one last blog post with all the amazing sights I’d see on my last day.

maine-(4)We’d have to walk on the beaches of course and I’d want to eat some fresh seafood. I’m a fiend for seafood and it’s difficult to get good seafood where I live. I haven’t seen the ocean since before my teens, so I would be nice to hear the waves crash one more time and to feel the sand between my toes. Maybe I’d be able to pick up a pretty shell or two to add to the collection I started when I was a kid. Then I’d have shells from both coasts.

maine-(2)We couldn’t go to Maine without seeing a lighthouse!

I blame Stephen King for my wish to see Maine. After reading so many of his books set in fictional towns in Maine, my desire to actually see it for myself has grown exponentially.  While we were there, I’d have to see if we could catch him out at the movies and shake the man’s hand. Thank him for years of entertainment.

No real goals for the trip other than wandering around and seeing whatever sites we happened upon. It’s more enjoyable without a detailed plan sometimes and it’s easier to miss the little things if you’re on a tight schedule.

Maybe when we returned there would still be time for a short death day party, but I would want to make sure to get back in time to say one last goodbye to my family and friends.

This isn’t the answer I expected to have, but I’m not as altruistic as I often wish I was.

May 232013
 

WHERE WERE YOU ON OCTOBER 1ST AT 3:03 P.M.?

Graphic artist Clay Riddell was in the heart of Boston on that brilliant autumn afternoon when hell was unleashed before his eyes. Without warning, carnage and chaos reigned. Ordinary people fell victim to the basest, most animalistic destruction.

And the apocalypse began with the ring of a cell phone….

Book description from Amazon.com

Sep 282010
 

The first section was about listening, but what I found interesting in the text was the difference between “thinking something up” and “getting something down.” Thinking something up is always more difficult and while we might strive to think up something brilliant, the easier and more productive route is getting something down. When you get something down, you’re writing something that’s already there just waiting for you to put the words down on the page. I’ve heard people call it “not testing your limits” but just because something comes easier doesn’t mean it’s not worth your time to write. On the contrary, it’s probably what you should be writing or were meant to write at this time.

Perfectionism was defined this week, much to my displeasure. I suffer from perfectionism to such a degree that I stopped posting on my blog for a very long time because what I wrote was not perfect. It wasn’t interesting enough and didn’t say exactly what I wanted it to say no matter how many hours I poured into a simple post. I haven’t gotten “over it” or “passed it” but I’ve been forcing myself to post no matter what. I just type, hit post and walk away instead of spending hours going over and over it. So, I’ve actually been working on my perfectionism problem for a while now.

My only advice is, walk away and get involved in something else. If you find yourself correcting or rewriting the same line or paragraph over and over again, put on some music and go bake some cookies, paint a model, read a book. Do something that gets your mind off your writing and doesn’t let you easily come back to it. Give it some time and when you go back to writing, do not read what you’ve already written. Tell yourself you can do it later and write on. Do not let yourself stay stuck in that line or paragraph.

The biggest danger you face when editing and reediting or writing and rewriting is what you have in the end is actually worse than what you started with. I’ve seen this with my own work. I’ve published blog posts that were edited so many times they became disjointed and lacked flow or cohesiveness. I still do it, but instead of trashing everything and not posting at all, I post it anyway. Maybe if I see the mistakes I’ve made, I’ll learn to edit at the end once and leave it alone.

Hand in hand with perfectionism is risk. Perfectionists have a hard time taking risks because they’re afraid. Whether it’s fear of looking like an idiot, fool, or that we aren’t good enough, aren’t perfect enough, taking risks others would take easily is something we would never do. I can honestly say I have a hard time letting anyone read my work because I know it’s not perfect. It’s not going to be praised, published, become a #1 best seller, and so I don’t show it. If I can’t be guaranteed that good things will come from letting someone read it, I won’t take that risk. Even writing anything at all was taking a risk not so long ago.

I don’t know who said it first but anything worth doing is worth doing badly. It’s taken me a long time to believe this and even longer to act on that belief. Now, I’m writing blog posts and taking the risk of posting them for all to see regardless if anyone even sees them or gets anything out of them. I’m also writing again because I enjoy it and don’t worry about what anyone else will think when it’s done. Most days I actually pull that off now.

The biggest problem is, we tend to compare ourselves with the seasoned artists out there. We don’t compare our starting work with their starting work, but rather with their best seller that just hit the market and that often leads to jealousy. While jealousy can often be the success of someone in our field or genre, you might be surprised to find that jealousy can simply be masking fear. While I don’t agree with the author on all points about jealousy, I do agree that jealousy can cause us to believe there’s no room for us on the stage with that seasoned artist. Yes, there is only one Stephen King, Joss Whedon, and Neil Gaiman, but they are not the only ones in their field or genres standing on that stage of greats.

There is room for you, too.

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