Monday, July 22, 2013

Write The Story And Shut The Door


I don't normally write about writing, mostly because I feel there are about a bazillion people who have more useful information about it than I do. But I recently finished reading On Writing by Stephen King and learned a few things that are worth sharing.

First, I will admit that I was wrong. About two years ago while searching for whichever new book King had published most recently, I came across On Writing. I thought, "there is no way that can be any good, it's not fiction." I was wrong. Reading this was just like reading one of his books, and even gave some insight to his incredibly creative mind. Not sick as some would say, just creative.

Second, let the characters dictate where the story is going. I've said it before, I'm a pantser, and not just when it comes to writing. Plotting and story lines and graphs and diagrams don't work for me and what a relief it was to find that this is true for the master too. Earlier this summer, I joined Candace Havens' Fast Draft class. The point of her class is to write through everything, and keep going. Don't be afraid of imperfections, just keep going for two weeks straight. When you do that, the characters take over.

Third is to shut the door. I'm part of a writing group; there are three of us. I adore our time together and love brainstorming with these women. We read out loud, mark up each other's work and ask "what if" questions quite often. King says we shouldn't share our work until it's complete and  we've finally finished writing with the "door shut," writing for ourselves and getting our character's stories out. A lot can change from the start to finish of a story, and as much as we want to share with others, our writing is for ourselves, not others- at least in that first round.  Ok- I'll have to make a change before our next get together.

So, if anyone wasn't sure if non-fiction from Stephen King would be worth reading, let me ease your concerns- it totally is, so go for it.