While away on my short camping trip I thought I would re-read Stephen King's great book on the art of writing called "On Writing". Now I've read this book before a few years ago, when I was going through a phase of buying lots of "how to" books on writing fiction hoping they would inspire me to keep writing. Unfortunately they didn't at the time. But I think I enjoyed Stephen King's the most out of all of them.
On Writing is a little different to most of the other texts out there on writing fiction. SK starts out the first third of the book in almost autobiographical fashion so you can maybe gain some insights into his head space when he writes. Lets just say for someone who is oh so very famous now he came from oh so very humble beginnings. A very poor family, terrible ear infections, dead end jobs and even alcoholism and eventually drug addiction to boot (can't even remember writing Cujo). The one constant he had through all those times was writing. Writing writing writing and a never say die attitude. I think this is one of the things I admire about him most, despite all the rejections, despite all the setbacks, despite being truly dirt poor white trailer trash, there was always writing.
The middle of the book talks about how SK writes today, his regimes, his thoughts on the craft and his utter, utter disdain for the adverb (have I used one yet? God I hope not...) and his ideas behind plot and story. It's interesting to note that SK is another author who doesn't do a lot of pre-planning or plotting before he starts to write. He just gets his initial idea, shuts the door to his office, and dumps everything out of his head in his first draft. It's the second draft when he "writes with the door open", when he lets others see it. But that first draft, it's just one big ole purge.
The end of the book talks about almost dying after being hit by a car while on one of his daily walks. This man came so very close to death, and then crawled back from it. Maybe it was payback for the author he tortured in Misery :-)
I really enjoyed On Writing as SK talks about most of his writing coming from a gut feeling, an instinct, and not worrying too much about what is going to happen next because your characters will let you know. He talks about doing his 2,000 word a day quota and if he is done by 10:30am then great, if he is still plugging away at 3:30pm it doesn't matter, just as long as he gets that 2,000 in. Now that I am writing every day SK's book has been very inspiring and I'll keep working to my goal.
For my next book - yeah keep talking positive - I'll be upping my daily word quota to a minimum1,000 a day. I'm hitting that mark most nights now, but for the next book I want to get really serious. When I get to book number three and I have quit the day job because of the $300,000 advance I'll get, then I'll go to 2,000 a day just like SK.
Yeah so anyway, if you are keen to buy another book about writing, but are a bit tired of the same ole "You must know the book's premise" etc (not that it doesn't have it's place) then On Writing is something you can enjoy a bit more for it's very readable quality and advice.