My husband suggested ages ago that I should read Stephen Kings's book "On Writing" and I would have but I forgot. Whilst lying along the couch the other night watching Biffy Clyro live at T in the Park, and a little bored at that point, I glanced up at one of our overloaded book shelves and spotted it among the other S. King tomes teetering there, in danger of falling and crushing whoever was recumbent on the couch should even so much as a feather alight on the topmost. So, I've been reading it. Actually, I've spent all afternoon reading it and now my brain is hurting but it's very good and I am feeling creatively invigorated. I fear, however, if the giant of a writer himself were to stumble upon this post, he would already be slapping a palm against his face and drawing it slowly down; I really don't think by natural verbosity would appeal at all.
Stephen King in the book decries the use of plotting. Good. I'm sick of it, although I'm not sure I can NOT plot because I'm a bit of a list-writer when it comes to anything: bath-time, okay - where's my note book - sponge - check, soap - check, dry towel and/or towels check....you get the picture. However, as I am hating the plotting thing although feel I need it I am going to try again without *grinds teeth, sweats*. Reading a lot seems to another biggy for him - fair enough, I've got that one in the bag. Now I've got over not being able to read because I just kept staring at the punctuation, I seem to be making up for lost time and yes, I've always been that person at the bus stop or in the doctors who wrestles a book out of their bag and settles down to ignore attempts at small talk from those around her (headphones are good for that too, even if the ipod isn't switched on - hehehe - urgg...shouldn't have said that!). What we definitely agree on - and I'm sure he would sleep easier knowing it - is something I've said on this blog before - you learn a hell of a lot reading bad stuff, maybe more than you do from the good stuff - so that 99p you downloaded utter horse manure for was not a waste.
But here's two things I actually wrote down, both of which made a lot of sense to me and I'll quote them. The first was said to Stephen King by his first editor at a newspaper he worked at:
"When you write a story, you are telling yourself the story. When you re-write, your main job is taking out the things that are not the story."
The other one is from himself when he was talking about the need to write everyday, to not lapse, as I have, and wait for the muse to come a calling, or inspiration or urges to drive you to the pen:
"Sometimes you have to go on when you don't feel like it, and sometimes you're doing good work when it feels like all you're managing to do is shovel shit from a sitting position."
So, yes, as of tomorrow, I'm going to get on with it. He suggests a daily word count of one thousand to begin with and that you do not leave your sanctuary until you reach it. The sanctuary bit might be difficult. I had set one up in the porch but it's too bright, too hot and the distractions are unlimited (cats chasing flies, hoodie crows menacing cats, weeds growing, cars passing, people on bikes, flowers....I'm easily distracted), so I will need to find another, maybe in the barn with the door shut or the hens will get in - no, second thoughts, too many spiders; I'd be running down the garden screaming like a big girls blouse every thirty seconds.....hmm, I think I may have to draw up a list of possible sanctuaries with a pros and cons column, utilising different coloured pens, of course, oh and with a grading system.................
Yours, Big Dxx