Friday, March 9, 2012

Flexing My Muscles

I believe that people are put in our lives for a specific purpose. I do not believe in coincindence. We may not always recognize the hand of a higher power, but it's there.

Recently, I've had quite a few of these angels in my writing life. As I've said before, I didn't write anything for a very long time. But, now that I'm at it again, I'm finding all kinds of help as I try to develop my skill. One of these helps came by way of a fellow blogger Tangledlou. She writes this amazing blog called Periphery, one which I am absolutely and completely jealous of. I read it religiously. A week or so ago, she posted a book review of Stephen King's book On Writing- a Memoir of the Craft.  I'm not a big Stephen King fan (too gory for me) and I didn't even know about this book. Thought maybe it was new. (Ha! Jokes on me. It was published in 2000.)  After reading the review, I decided I must read it and got it from the library.

No surprise, it's amazing.  I mean, if anyone knows about writing, it's a man who's  written 49 novels.  One of the things that hit home to me is the idea that a book or story isn't written by the author, but more discovered or even uncovered.  I first read a quote about this years ago in a novel by Dean Koontz.  I read it again and again. It described exactly how I felt about writing, but didn't know other people felt the same way. (Sorry, couldn't find the quote.)  Mr. King describes it like unearthing fossils, the story being the fossil. As we write, we don't know exactly what we'll find, and we are often surprised by the way the story takes us.  It's one of my favorite things about writing.

In the book, On Writing, Stephen King gives so much great advice.  I'm not sure I'd call it advice. It's more like mentoring.  He talks about having a toolbox for writing and what you need to 'get the job done'.  He also  gives a writing exercise. He gives some background and then you write a story using that.   As I read the background on the characters, (a couple in an abusive relationship), I thought, 'Well, he's giving me everything, what is there to write?' Then, he threw in the twist.  Change the protagonist and antagonist, so that the victim is a man and the abuser, a woman. I gasped. Well, in my head I did. I got very excited and pulled out my laptop.  I wrote for an hour and a half.  It's nothing like I've ever written before.  (I even used a couple of swear words. Sorry, Mom.)  It was challenging and invigorating.  I don't know that it's any good, but it did what Mr. King set out to do. I wrote without knowing where the story would take me, just let it take me.

I thought about sharing the story here, but it's sort of long. Instead, I put it in a page at the top of my blog, titled My Writing Treadmill.  Read if you like. I won't be offended if you don't.  I'm about half way through Mr. King's book and am excited to see what else I can learn.

13 comments:

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    1. Yep, we all are. Someday, we'll say, 'I knew her when...'

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    2. My guess is we'll be able to say that about the both of you....

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  2. You are sweet, sweet people. Having people like you around makes my growing stack of rejection letters easier to enjoy.
    Jewels! I am so glad you're reading that book! I feel the same way about Stephen King as you do, but gained so much from this book and so much respect for his craft. I thought about trying that writing exercise because I don't write fiction very comfortably, but I chickened out. You should email him yours just like he said to do in the book!

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    1. Rejections build character, that's what people tell me. I don't think I need that much character!
      I wanted to email him, but after searching his site, found out that he's no longer taking them. Apparently, he didn't forsee people wanting to send him submissions years after his book came out. =)

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  3. Sounds like a very helpful book. If it was anything like his movies though I wouldn't want to read it. I'm a wimp when it comes to scary movies!

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    1. No scary stuff in this book. Some gross childhood memories, though. He gives tons of great writing advice. Definitely worth it.

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  4. Jewels I read the piece - it is amazing....had my pulse racing for sure. Congrats.

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    1. Thanks so much. This was so different from what I've ever written. It was fun to try something new.

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  5. Just found your blog -- very real and passionate. I bet your fiction is terrific. I'll come back and read your new piece when I have more time. I love Stephen King, although his stuff is not for every taste, he is an absolute MASTER in terms of plot, character development, setting a scene, and grabbing you by the throat within the first few pages and never letting you go! Although I don't write fiction (only non) I might check out his book (literally, from the library) anyway!

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    1. I got mine from the library,though I think I'm going to have to buy it so I can mark it up. Though he talks a lot about writing fiction, I think his advice applies to any writer.

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  6. I am glad you found this book! If you didn't already know I am a big fan of Stephen King. I read this book when it came out and I learned a lot from it even though I am not a writer like you. I will read your story but I don't have time to do it right now. I'll bet it's great!

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  7. wish it was possible to do not much more than reading.. so much good exciting stuff around.. so little time

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