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.