I AM FALLING FOR THE BROKEN MAN AGAIN
Last October, my book club read Stephen King's On Writing. I was reluctant, because I generally don't like writing books and I've never been much of a King fan. To my surprise, King's instructional memoir was quite good, weaving practical advice into anecdotes about the writer's life. It wasn't some self-serving collection of bullet points for success, but instead was a humble explanation of how King does what he does, advice to apply as necessary. It goes alongside Hemingway's A Moveable Feast as my favorite book about being a writer. Craft is something any hack can analyze; it's altogether something else to be able to communicate how it is to be and to do.
I guess there is a 10th anniversary edition of King's book coming out, and NPR took the occasion to rerun an old interview with King and Terry Gross, including an excerpt of King reading from On Writing. You can listen to it here. Coincidentally enough, I also just discovered that there was an A Moveable Feast: The Restored Edition published last year, and it's coming out in paperback this month. I'm going to have to read that.
The NPR program reminded me that I started the writing challenge that King poses in his book. He suggests the reader take the standard story of "estranged husband loses his mind and comes back to kill his wife and take his child" and reverse the roles, so the woman is the one posing the threat, and see where it goes. I gave it a try.
I'm not very happy with how it turned out. It's not very efficient, takes too long to get into the nitty gritty (I'm still only on the beginning, five pages in), but it was kind of fun. It went way off from where I thought I was going, the woman got a little more "crazy" than "menacing." Alas, I had no ending, and I eventually let it go.
But, here it is all the same, just for the hell of it:
Stephen King Writing experiment/Jamie Rich manuscript.
Note: This hasn't been proofread all that well.
Current Soundtrack: UNKLE, Where Did the Night Fall
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All text (c) 2010 Jamie S. Rich