I am currently reading “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” by Stephen King. It was really hard getting through the first third of the book because he swears a bit too much for me. It was funny the first 20 times he dropped the f-bomb, but it starts getting old after that.
I do think this book is worth reading (even the first third of it). I really like what he has to say about the writing world. It is great to get the perspective of someone who has made it. I like the fact that he doesn’t care for things like writing classes, and says so. Not because I personally don’t want to take a class, but because it is nice to hear that it’s not a requirement. I really do enjoy the fact that the writing process is different for everyone. We make our own process just as we create our own stories. It is okay to be different, and to have different tools or methods than the other writers you know.
I also liked King’s idea of writing the first draft with the door closed. That is, until I understood that he meant this literally. I do like the idea of not sharing any part of the story until you are done with your first draft. That is the only way I’ve done it. But he suggests closing the door literally, and pulling the blinds.
My desk has the best view in the house. I did this on purpose. I like having a view of green grass and trees in the background while I write. He says he takes himself (mentally) to a basement to write. That is a little to dark for me. I write in a sun room. And there are no doors to close.
And the great news is that it’s all good. I don’t have to write in the same setting that Stephen King does. Because the writing process is different for everyone.
Filed under Reading, Writer
I read several articles/blogs today that talked about/touched on the fact that there is just too much information out there. So I thought, in the spirit of those articles, I would add some more information about too much information.
The first article is not fun to read. It’s called “Too Much to Know” in Inside Higher Ed (March 16, 2011). I am pasting the best part of the article here:
Many books seemed useless or deleterious, and finding the useful ones was time-consuming and not always successful. Today we have powerful and helpfully redundant search tools and yet we too often do not find what we’d like to and we also need to remember that we might be missing something, especially since not the Web does not contain all the information that might be valuable to us….
The overload we experience today is unique in a number of ways. The sheer scale of accumulation of digital materials is of course unprecedented…
Blog Skim Query Push from Kay Camden talked about how the saturation on the internet of information is so insane that it is really hard to keep up with what you are interested in and stay on track. (Her blog is worth reading so I won’t quote it here.)
We have way too much information to digest on the internet and in scholarly writing. So as a novel writer, I started wondering if there are too many works of fiction out there as well. Considering the indie publishers, self publishing, and electronic books, maybe there is just too much out there. And what if it is all just valueless dribble? Or even worse, what if it is all awesome and we just won’t ever be able to read it all?
So maybe I shouldn’t write this novel, there is already so much out there, what makes me think my story is worthy enough to stick out and be read? And why do I keep on adding to the pile?
For me it is hope and the love of my story. There is also a part of me that doesn’t think there can ever be too much information/fiction out there, even if it is a lot to comb through.
I took some much needed time off editing my manuscript. (I’d tried to add magic to the story, and almost killed it in the process.)
While on break, I decided to read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. I finished reading the book in just over a day. Turns out it wasn’t really my style. Without giving it away, it is a good book for high school and junior high kids (has a good lesson), but it does not have what I–as an older reader of teen fiction–am looking for.
Anyway, only a few hours after I finished reading the book, ideas for how to make the messy storyline in my MS into a great one just started flooding in! It was sort of inconvenient since I’d finished the book at lunch, and was still at work when the ideas started assaulting me. I guess it’s better than getting the ideas in bed (my midnight, written in the dark notes about awesome ideas are really hard to decipher the next day). But I was really lucky I could find a mindless task to do (I don’t think people should pay me to play at work) while I combed through the ideas.
It’s not all sorted out yet, I still have a lot more work to do. I have tons of stickynotes and scratch paper bits that I need to plot out on the outline, and some semi big questions to answer yet, but I think it may work really well. It also helped me to see what the sequels will look like a bit better. I knew there would be two more books, but now I have an idea of the why and how of them.
So it looks like reading Speak, was just what I needed in order to pull my mind out of my WIP and be able to come back to it with fresh ideas.
Oh, I should add that I also had a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked fro-yo. I have to give them some credit too.
I am currently giving my manuscript some well deserved time off. I almost killed it last week by trying to weave in magic, and now I am not sure if I need to go back to an older draft and scrap the magic idea or continue with the magic, in which case I will need to do a bit of heavy replotting and a lot of rewriting.
In the interim, while I let my novel rest on “the shelf,” I am starting to think about what I should do while I wait for the ideas of this book to calm down.
I really want to read right now. I had been putting all new reading on hold until I finished the current read through of my MS. But after screwing up last week I gave in this weekend and
read devoured the third book in the Hunger Games trilogy like it was a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked. Now I want to read Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson. I have heard only great things about this book and can’t wait to crack the spine!
But as I was doing some research on techniques people use while editing and revising their manuscripts, I noticed that there are a lot of authors who write other things while they let their wip breath.
This may sound green, but I’d never thought of switching to writing something else. I guess I’m worried that if I start on something else before I am done with this one, I’ll forget what my intent was for this novel. Besides, isn’t starting a new project before you are done with the old one sort of like never finishing what you started?
Maybe I need to recognize that on top of everything else authors do to make their work great, they are also great at self discipline and making sure they get back to, and finish their work.
I do have about 60,000 words of the sequal to my novel just waiting for me to come back and finish it. Maybe I need to go work on that for a while.
But can’t I just read one more book first please? If I just allow myself one more good book before I pickup the pen again, that should be okay right?
So what do you do while taking time off from your wip?