Mr. King Delivers

Finished the first pass at my kid’s pirate novel two days ago. Giant fun. Nothing like spinning a tale and winding it up. Now on to prepping for meetings in Hollywood next month. Was talking to a friend in New York, Rob, who knows what’s what, and I was on a cloud because I’d just written “The End” and he said he’d, that day, been reading On Writing by Stephen King. King suggests that when you finish something, you should put it away for six weeks so it will go cold. King’s line of reasoning, I believe, was that after that time it becomes an alien being.

Killer advice.

I then did two things… I put the book away until November 1. And I picked up On Writing and started re-reading it. WHAT A GREAT BOOK.

Well, I started re-reading the second half, the stuff about writing. I’ve never read the first part, which is his bio. I wanted to know how to write!

Mr. King’s book is common sense advice that it doesn’t hurt to re-hear every once in a while. One thing is that you have to do it every day. Fail that, and doom ensues. I have been out of the “write every morning if it kills you” mindset for precisely two days and I can tell my creative life is slipping away. If you allow “work” or “family” or any other foolishness to get in the way, you are screwed blue and tattooed.

He has a lot to say about situation vs. plotting… stick two people in a room, follow them down a path and see where it goes.

On my pirate novel, I had a detailed outline… but the writing got better when I deviated from said outline, spread my tiny wings, and flew. It felt better and showed better on the page. I think I was actually pretty amusing on paper when I sort of revved up and let go. We’ll find out on November first, won’t we?

If you have not read the second half of On Writing, I highly recommend it. The book is $25, expensive as hell, but still worth it even if you skip the front end. The good junk is in the trunk.

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4 Comments

Filed under Screenwriting, Writing Process

4 responses to “Mr. King Delivers

  1. I read this a few years ago and loved it. It now rests proudly on my shelf. I should read it again.

  2. JBC

    Mr. Akers – love your blog and hard hitting advice about the industry. King is truly the King when it comes to sheer output. Anyone who writes that much is sure to have something break through. Plus he was talented which is always a plus.

    Good luck on your children’s pirate book. I wrote a children’s book last year and have yet to get a nibble. Are you including illustrations?

    OnOn!
    JBC

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      I have been told not to include illustrations. I joined the SCBWI and that’s their advice. Just the text, ma’am. I’ve written a 200 word picture book and a 60,000 YA novel. We’ll see how it goes…

  3. Brett in Manhattan

    King cites “Elements of Style” as the most bullshit-free grammar book.

    Another is “The New Webster’s Grammar Guide.” A better six bucks you’ll never spend.

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