“2nd Draft = 1st Draft – 10%” ~ Stephen King
My Christmas break is quiet this year. I spend my days off reading and writing. This novel was highly recommended as the best book on writing. I was uncharacteristically skeptical, but I read everything I am recommended. This offering on my craft was a pleasant surprise. Stephen King was completely foreign to me save for a spider-clown who killed children and ruined my childhood (spoiler alert).
This novel was incredible for its comprehension in dealing with the art and business of writing. Traditionally, I don’t write fiction, but this book transcends the two types of book categories. The first portion deals primarily with Steve’s childhood, family situations and scenarios that led him to write. It’s an interesting peek into the lifestyle of a master writer. The trials he overcame are not unfamiliar to most writers; writer’s block, addiction, poor reviews and rejection letters.
I gravitated to the addiction portion because writing is such a solitary art form. I sympathize with his method of unwinding, which became a dependency. I think the fact that he wrote some of his greatest novels under the influence of drugs is both sad and impressive. The guy churned some novels out in a matter of a week, while still being a husband, father and English teacher. I can’t even weave a cohesive sentence together when drinking a couple pints of Kronnenberg.
The remainder of the memoir deals with craft. He’s specific about the tools you need, theme, characters, grammar and active voice. Active voice is probably the most important or, at least on par with grammar. I fall short when writing in the active voice, it’s a microcosm of my personality. If any writer plans on succeeding, grammar and active voice are a necessity. Read this book and you’ll improve all aspects of your game, I guarantee it. Stephen may not be your niche, but the lessons hold true of any and every writer.
Carpe Diem Que