Tag Archives: Stephen King

Monday Hint: Nine More Days!

Keep writing!

What? On Labor Day?

Yes! One of the most prolific and well-published writers of our time, Stephen King, writes every day of the year. Even birthdays and Christmas.

One hour a day.

That’s all we ask.

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Three Thing Thursday

  1. I am reading Fahrenheit 451. For the first time. And quite liking it. I’m not sure if I’m surprised by this. My sister loved Ray Bradbury as a kid (she always out-read me). She read Stephen King, Tolkien and Bradbury long before I did. I was stuck in Steinbeck, Faulkner and Twain.

    This summer I’m reading a lot. A lot more than I have since school

    What have you read recently that you’ve loved?
    What have you read that you missed out on as a kid or teen?
    What is a favorite book that I should read?

  2. I am gathering books for the Hopi Reservation. If you would like to donate, please email me at carolthewriter@yahoo.com. These books must be gently used or new. I just looked up at my shelf and saw several novels I will never read again. It’s time to let those go. I have space only for the ones I want to keep forever. Or, maybe not space, but you know.
  3. In August, Ann Dee and Kyra and I might be having a writing marathon again. It’s been awhile. Will let you know as we get closer. If you are interested in playing a long, let me know.

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We’re Back! Three Thing Thursday!

Carol:

Last night I dreamed Ryan Reynolds installed the new granite countertop in my kitchen.

He knew how much I loved him so he surprised me by being an installer!

He was funny!

And super-cute!

It was a great dream. Far better than the one the night before where I dreamed my daughter was swept out to sea by a giant wave and there was nothing I do to save her and I knew she was going to die because the sea was so rough. Yes, the Ryan Reynolds dream was great.

Plus–guess what?! I wasn’t even looking for him, and I found RR on Twitter! (His wife was in photos with him, but I didn’t look at her.) It was so weird, just happening upon him on Twitter. Like I was walking along in a new neighborhood and found out where my crush lived.

The Twitter thing was all about Deadpool, and I couldn’t decide to follow him. Do I? Don’t I? Do I? Don’t I?

I know how I am.

I might take a Xanax for a migraine and wake up the next day to see that I’d tweeted 8 billion messages to him like:

I know I am old but u r cute. I write books. Do you read?

Or

Could you be keynote at WIFYR? Pay– $300. (Only 30 minutes. I heart you.)

Or

Do you mind flabby/chubby/balding/funny/older women? Teeth okay.

At this point I am NOT following Ryan Reynolds on Twitter. But yes, I still pause the moment he is naked with Sandra Bullock in THE PROPOSAL.

And FYI–what you have just witnessed here is exactly how I write.

Scared?

 

CHERYL:

If you’re anything like me, then one of your favorite fantasies is becoming an award-winning author right out of the gate. Can’t you just picture it? All the highest awards, every accolade available, all of the critics universally agreeing that your debut is the greatest ever written.

But I remember hearing Shannon Hale speak once. My favorite novel of hers was her first, The Goose Girl. Someone else in the audience felt the same, and asked her why that one didn’t win a Newbery like her later novel, Princess Academy.
She replied that she was actually glad that it didn’t win. She felt that if it had, she would have felt so much pressure to have the same success that she might never have written another novel. The moderate success and the loyal fanbase was exactly what she needed to motivate her to continue writing.
Shannon Hale went on to say that Kate DiCamillo had a great deal of difficulty writing her next novel after The Tale of Despereaux won. J.K. Rowling felt she had to write under a pen name after Harry Potter. Harper Lee didn’t write another novel for decades. Stephen King stated that he always feels a bit hurt when someone says that his best novel was The Stand….does that mean that nothing he’s done since then has been good? Is his best long gone?
So perhaps instant fame and fortune isn’t the best method. Maybe writing careers, like story arcs, need time to build to a climax. Isn’t it wonderful to think that your best is yet to come?
BRENDA:
Oh, the lasting effects of a thoughtless comment.  As I was re-reading Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones (yes, I’m still on that path through the woods), she told about a childhood experience.  Playing her cousin’s piano in Brooklyn she was singing along with it “In the gloaming, oh my darling . . .”  Her cousin, nine years older, screamed out “Aunt Sylvia, Natalie is tone-deaf. She can’t sing.”  From then on she never sang, listened to music only on rare occasions, but learned the words to all the Broadway songs from the radio.  She never tried to imitate the melody.
My own long-lasting childhood bruise was when I was playing with a younger boy cousin.  We were only 3 and 4.  My aunt Virginia had a beautiful, knit afghan which we were using as a “dress-up” item.  I wrapped it around my tummy, and twirled and twirled.  Weldon wanted a turn, but I was bigger, older and wouldn’t give him a chance.  When he began to cry, Aunt Virginia stormed in, rather upset with me.  “Brenda, why are you always so selfish?”  She whisked him away into her bedroom, bedecked him in a long flowing skirt of many colors and a cowboy hat with a shiny brown bead that slid up a cord to secure the hat to his head.  Needless to say, I wanted a turn with those items: the afghan puddled around my feet, and had lost it’s glamour.  And I believed for many, many years that I was “always” selfish.
What lost opportunities did Natalie miss out on for enjoying music?  What guilt did I carry with me well into my adult, even mothering, years?  Be careful what you say (or what you make/let your characters say): “Children will listen,” and bear the scars.
What are your characters’ childhood scars?  Still festering?  Ingrained?  Somehow, still debilitating?  How may those scars be healed or overcome?
Carol Again:
Just found a site with Ryan Reynolds pics.
Just saying.

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Writing What Makes You Cringe

I remember hearing (from a  friend) an interview with  Stephen King. (I’m completely giving this story to you third hand. That means it may be completely wrong.)

Anyway, in the interview, King said  once he heard someone step on a roach and he (King) just cringed. Then he thought, “I want to make readers feel that way.”

Is that true? Maybe. But the idea of writing something that will make a reader cringe (in this case because it’s scary) is smart. We want our readers to feel emotions when they read our novels.

But how?

A few days ago a friend asked me to write something for a collection she’s editing. I won’t say what or anything in case my piece doesn’t get in. But I will say this–I was worried. It’s dark and sad. And my writing about this will sort of bare my soul. It took me three days to write less than 300 words. Then, I cried when I talked to my girls about it. Felt embarrassment about the topic. About the words I’d put to paper.

It occurred to me that when I write I do poke around at emotions. Lots of times I’m heart-heavy when I write a sad book. And the easiest novels I ever write are the ones that fill me with joy because those books are–wait for it–happy.

But have I ever felt the way this essay has made me feel? So raw? So exposed?

I think so. It’s part of my process. A hard part sometimes. But a necessary part.

If you want your readers to feel whatever it is you want to convey, then you better know that feeling inside and out.

The words have to ring true. The emotion needs to be palpable. The reader needs to feel like the character. Needs to BE the character.

So if you scare yourself, you are probably scaring your reader.

Remember that the next time you crunch a roach.

 

 

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Kyra Leigh, Queen Bee

How do you find confidence in your writing ?
I feel like every word on the page lately sounds like a mess and a half.
I need to find my confidence and strap it on like a helmet and just write.

Is that what’s holding me back ? Or is it everything else?

Writing is hard. Working makes writing harder. Family issues makes writing the hardest.

Confidence will help repair that. I sort of know.

Is Mom a confident writer? Probably. How else would she sell so many books? But then you also need insecurities to keep the writing genuine, right?
Who has the answers? {besides Steven King?}
This makes no sense. It’s 2:10 in the morning and I’ve been up since five.

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Three Things Thursday

Cheryl
The weather out here in California has been so beautiful lately…Not too hot, not too cold, and of course, no rain–ever. 

When I was younger, my mom would always push me to go outside at times like this. For me, of course, that meant finding a comfy spot outside to read a book.
Now I’ve discovered that having an occasional day to write outside can also help. Take a break from the computer. Grab an actual pen and pad of paper and just write. It can break up the monotony, and it always helps me focus on sense of place. Inside, all my senses are dulled, but outside, everything comes alive again.
Brenda
Write to Done, an online blog about — well, blogging, often — put one up on Monday about improving your writing skills by traveling. As I am now “on vacation” in Alabama I thought I’d mention the idea here. Travel gets you out of your rut, gives you a chance to get some distance from your everyday experience with a new perspective. Almost anything can work: a change of address, a vacation, a day trip  And what if you only took the day trip to a place you’ve never been n your own home town? Still can’t “afford” it? How about spending some time in the library reading about some place you’ve always wanted to go, looking at pictures?
The first time I came to Alabama three years ago, I experienced breakfast at a Waffle House. A PECAN Waffle!  Scrumptious! Needless to say, we’ve already been twice during this trip. Still scrumptious! But I’m also noticing the people. The “family” working there. On the crowded Sunday Mother’s Day breakfast crew, the job of two men was to keep on cookin’; another one gathered all the sales slips and called out the orders –as they came in— to  the cooks who were ready to handle the next order. One fellow kept drying the knives, forks and spoons hot out of the washer. This well-oiled machine seated the waiting crowd efficiently, quickly, and took orders as soon as the customers had time to decide — and while they sipped on their first cup-a-joe! Another guy handled the cash as each party prepared to leave. ALL the workers were friendly, to each other, and to customers. Numerous asked if we “had everything” we needed as they buzzed past. This was a small, narrow diner with AT LEAST 11 workers working in harmony AND with a jaunty, jovial air about them. It was THE place to be on that wonderful day.
And it gave me a new appreciation for working together, living together, getting along, and making the trip FUN as it progressed. How can that NOT affect the way I feel, act, write, think and appreciate today and EVERY day for some time to come?
Where/when are you “going” next — and how will it inform your writing?
Carol
You’re worried as you work with your writing partner:
1. She’s leading you in a way you didn’t expect. Should you follow?
2. He’s making your character seem a little silly or angry even. You don’t want that.
3. You can’t force the story to go the way you want because whenever your partner steers the car, you start going east instead of west.
4. Your partner doesn’t ‘get’ your character.
5. You don’t ‘get’ your partner’s character.
6. Now you don’t ‘get’ your own character.
7. Your partner isn’t picking up the clues you’re leaving behind.
8.  His clues are weird.
I remembering reading King’s On Writing and when he discovered the importance of blood in his novel Carrie. He’d left so many bloody hand prints (his own) that when he went to rewrite he emphasized the natural place his storytelling had taken him.
This is going to be the biggest clue I can give you as you write with your friend. Trust her and yourself and this odd process.
One of the funnest parts of writing with Ann Dee was when I allowed myself to just experiment. If she mentioned screaming at my character’s house, I got to decide if it was a man or woman screaming. Or a kid. It could have been a kid. (It was a bird.) Ann Dee was great at leaving cliff hangers for me to leap from.
About three or four short chapters in, Ann Dee said, “What are we doing? I say she hates dogs, you have her with dogs. I say there’s screaming, you don’t mention in. You said they’re making out and I said there was only a hug.”
This trip is one about you both steering. No one can force the story. If either writer does, you may end up with one unhappy person. Or you may end up with two people struggling for control.
Then you’ll have two stories that won’t work together and you won’t succeed.
Look for the odd clues left behind by your partner. How can you change it up from what she might have meant? Can you make that clue your own? Twist tears out of it? Laughter?
Understand that much of the worries you have will be taken care of in revision. And when the book is done, Like Stephen King, you’ll see what you set up that you didn’t realize you had. In our books it was fathers. I knew my character’s was sick and Ann Dee’s was absent. But then there was one that was dead and a couple others I didn’t even see until I read through the novel.
Ann Dee probably knew.
She’s smart that way.
So–to answer the statements above–trust yourself. Trust your partner. Trust the process.
Talk to each other.
Have fun.
NOTE–I COULDN’T MAKE THE PARAGRAPHING WORK

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Table Salt and Brother Brigham – by Debbie Nance

I’ve mentioned before that I’m doing some editing work for a gal who is creating a Latter-day Saint based home-schooling curriculum. I’m relearning a lot about grammar and punctuation, which is always helpful, as well as reading through the literature sections. The books and selections chosen are void of swearing and crass words and are often classics that include a high vocabulary. It is interesting work.

Quotes are routinely placed at the beginning of sections. A quote from Brigham Young intrigued me so I looked online for the full text. “Now, brethren and sisters, … employ the rest of your lives in good thoughts, kind words, and good works. ‘Shall I sit down and read the [scriptures] all the time?’ says one. Yes, if you please, and when you have done, you may be nothing but a sectarian after all. It is your duty to study to know everything upon the face of the earth, in addition to reading [scriptures]. We should not only study good, and its effects upon our race, but also evil, and its consequences.”

 

Brigham made it clear in the next several passages of his talk that there was a difference from learning about evil and doing evil, which he himself would not do. He felt children never allowed to learn about evil would, when free of their parents, fall into or even embrace evil practices. That reminded me of something a Salt Lake City librarian once told me that they had to keep replacing books at the library on some tough moral and social topics—not because the kids reading them were doing the “bad” things discussed, but in her opinion because the kids were too embarrassed to ask about the topics or to even check out the books so they just took them. To her, there was an obvious need for those books.  

 

In my WIFYR class, one of the writers was unsure about including some difficult things in her novel about a girl who had attempted and failed suicide. My classmate said she chickened out when it came to writing the hard stuff and would simply end the scene. Our class encouraged her to write the whole story. I don’t believe that means she has to add a ton of foul language or gross details, but her book has a place and needs to be written for those teens faced with the same difficult situations as her MC. I think Brother Brigham would have agreed.

 

WIFYR was a great conference and I was surrounded by lots of friends and many talented people. At times I felt inspired and excited, and at other times I felt overwhelmed and exhausted. Can you relate?

Stephen King once said, “Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” 

Guess it’s time for us to go back to work. 

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