On Writing – Stephen King

I write in the supernatural. I read in the supernatural, horror, mystery, and thrillers. Preferring to read for the share entertainment of the stories and the characters, I enjoy the emotion, fear, and intensity I feel when I read such books by Stephen King or Agatha Christie or James Patterson. The good thing is, I can feel these emotions in the safety of my own home. It works out well for me, my sanity and my safety.

I first wanted to be a writer when I read Nancy Drew, I and was pulled in and hooked after reading Stephen King. I have no recollection as to the first book I read by him, and based on my age can only assume it was The Shining, Carrie or Salem’s Lot, but that’s not what’s important. All that’s important is remembering that feeling of reading something that made me angry, frightened, terrified or entertained. And as I worked my way through the Stephen King library, every new book sustained my desire to be a writer, to play a creator, discovering new worlds rich in imagination that make you experience and feel something.

When he came out with his autobiography of sorts, On Writing, I was blown away. For anyone who wants to be a writer, or is a writer, it’s inspirational, funny, honest and a little informative if you’re the type of writer who laps up constructive information, to learn anything you can about the craft.

Connecting with the book was easy and forced my to think about how I write my stories. How do I develop them and the characters? Am I a plotter or a pantser? As it turns out, Stephen King admits he’s a pantser making me realize that I’m not alone and I’m not wrong in my approach. Both of us start with a basic idea, maybe do a little research and then begin writing without a true sense of where the book will take us. He approaches it as an archeological dig, starting with the first hint of an artifact and continues to dig deeper, until the entire item reveals itself to him, just as his books do. He allows the story reveal itself to him rather than him dictating the story.

That’s exactly how I write my story. I start with a brief paragraph of what I think the story will be, do a little research and then set off to write the story. I let the story reveal itself to me, not as if it’s an artificial but rather as if I’m psychic and the story just reveals itself. I experience the story as a reader would not as the writer, full of the surprised, tension and happiness or sadness depending on the storyline.

It’s an amazing way to write a book, to feel the emotion that the reader might feel, experiencing the twists and turns, much like I hope you will too. That makes me a pantser, a writer who writes by the seat of their pants. It’s a little chaotic, but a thrilling ride. If it’s good enough for Stephen King, it’s most definitely good enough for me.

 

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