Currently, I’m reading On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, by Stephen King, and I’m on page 60. I’ve never actually read one of his books before, and the only movie adaptation I’ve seen of his work is The Shining. Despite this, I know that he is a prolific author and probably knows a thing or two about writing. So far, I’ve enjoyed this book.
The Book So Far:
The beginning portion of this book had been entirely about his life growing up as a writer.
From very young, and creating stories for his mother to read, to the point I’ve gotten to now, when he’s just starting college, it seems like King always knew that he wanted to be a writer. As someone who’s recently switched out of my original major, and trying to find what I’d rather do with my life, I’m rather envious. As of now, one of the only nuggets of wisdom that King has provided about the actual craft of writing itself has been this, quoting his first editor:
“When you write a story, you’re telling yourself the story,” he said. “When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story.” (pg. 57)
“Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open. Your stuff starts out being just for you, in other words, but then it goes out. Once you know what the story is and get it right-as right as you can, anyway-it belongs to anyone who wants to read it.” (pg. 57)
On My Own Writing:
As I’ve been writing for my class, and working on a story revision, I’ve had a hard time just allowing myself to write and be creative without the worry of anyone being able to see my first thoughts. I think King’s handed down advice is good. As I took it: that when you write, the story you are writing is just for yourself, that you’re telling yourself the story. That you have to allow yourself to be creative and write freely, without thinking too much about it, and then go back and find the parts that need improving.
His past life has been an interesting read, but I’m looking forward to the rest of his book when hopefully he’ll give more specific suggestions on how to improve your writing. One of the things I have to constantly remind myself about in my writing is: “what is my goal for this scene, or this story for a whole?” and “How do I achieve this?” Something else that I’ve found interesting about writing is that I never really thought that you could teach it. That writing was some sort of innate skill that a person did or did not have. As I learn about writing through my class, I’m learning more and more that writing, as much as it’s an art, is also a science. When writing, you constantly have to be conscious of elements that have finally been given a name to me. Constantly thinking about how the audience should be feeling or what they should be thinking about. I’m hoping that King will provide some insight on how to make your story do what you want to do.