I ordered this book just out of curiosity to know if there is something essential or special about writing. Honestly speaking I haven’t read any novel by King; but I have watched “The Shining” ( because it is one among the top ten scariest movies, and I like to watch top tens..) and “ The Green Mile” ( because I am a Tom Hanks’ fan), and the both movies have a long lasting impact which are based on King’s novels by the same name. This was the only information I had before reading this book but as I went through the book I came to know about King bit by bit.
This book is part autobiography, part collection of tips for the aspiring writers and his list of books which he enjoyed in some last years. The book is divided in three parts. Autobiographical part is a kind of fun reading, he and his brother were raised by their mother only who took various little jobs in order to make an end. Horror was his favorite genre since childhood, once he copied the whole story of a horror blockbuster and sold it in the school and got reprimanded. In the beginning of his career, just like any other writer, he got rejections a lot… with suggestions and advice. He met Tabitha in his twenties and afterwards got married. His wife Tabitha King is also a novelist. He has been a highschool teacher and worked in a laundry as a part time job in his earlier days and wrote his first two novels “Carrie” and “Salem’s Lot” in some forlorn corner of that laundry. Rejections and dejections could never let him down and the rest is history. Stephen King is among the few international best seller writers, though his writings haven’t acclaimed much literary rewards but he is a sensation. When he was writing this book, met a severe accident by a school bus, it was a narrow escape from death, but after two month he resumed his work and completed this book.
Let’s come now on the main reason why I bought this book, obviously expecting some tips. According to Stephen King-
- A writer should first maintain his tools- vocabulary, basic grammar, practice of making short and easy sentences (like Earnest Hemingway and so on..), try to avoid adverbs ( don’t make a lot of use of –ly words), avoid passive voice sentences. Afterwards he comes on the draft segment, first “write what you know very well”- this idea work damn good in the beginning, as you are desperate to get published, you won’t end up in writing crap. Once you are published, you can step out from your comfort zone, but do a lot of research.
- Read a lot and write a lot. It is impossible to be a great writer without being a great reader. Reading is the creative center of a writer’s life.
- Writing is seduction. Try to develop your own style. Be true to the readers, because whenever you try to hide something, they catch it.
- Story is more important than plot. Plot is the support of weak writers. There are only three parts of a novel or story, first the Narration which moves the story from point A to B, second the Description which creates a sensory reality for the audience, and third the Dialogue which brings characters to life- Plot is Nowhere.
- Avoid unnecessary description, people want the story to flow.
- There must be a touch of reality, and the work must be dealt with a clear theme.
- There must be a pace in the story, twists and turns that is called, ‘page-turning anxiety’.
- “Good presentation” is the first thing you should care about while sending or giving your draft to the agent, editor or publisher.
- Have a room with doors and windows shut, avoid TV( fully)- this is also very important, and unless you have completed your first draft, never let anyone read it; even your IR (Ideal Reader).
- Have an IR, for King, his IR is his wife Tabitha- an IR is the first reader of your draft, for whose happiness you write.
There are not only ten points, there are a lot of tips. I just wrote what I could keep in my mind after reading. And some last lines are quotable of this book, “ Writing is not about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid and making friends; in the end it is about enriching the lives of those who will read your work and enriching your own life, as well. It is getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy. Okay? Getting happy.”
Ravi is basically a Teacher and Reader. He loves to read interesting and thought-provoking books. On an average, he reads 80 to 90 books per year. He is much into realistic, political, historical and philosophical works, but occasionally he likes to read Poems, Short-stories, Fantasy and Romance. His other hobbies are Singing, Photography, Movies, and Travelling. Ravi started his writing by writing poems and book-reviews and he has written more than one hundred fifty poems in English and more than three hundred book reviews; some of his poems have been published in various online journals like : Indian Periodical, Mad Swirl, Borderless; in Print, his poems have been published in Oxigle Media Publications’ anthology “Whisper of Hearts” and Evincepub Publications’ anthology “Rubaroo”. One of his Short-stories has been published in TheUNIverse Journal and one of his articles has been published in Indian Periodical. Ravi has also published his collection of Hindi Poems “Vo Baat Un Dino Ki Thi” on Amazon Kindle.
Ravi is planning to publish his collection of short-stories and poems in near future, and working on his first novel right now.