Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What talent looks like

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There's no way around these two things that I'm aware off, no shortcut.

The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.

I believe the first draft of a book — even a long one — should take no more than three months…Any longer and — for me, at least — the story begins to take on an odd foreign feel, like a dispatch from the Romanian Department of Public Affairs, or something broadcast on high-band shortwave during a period of severe sunspot activity.

All of these quotes come from Stephen King's On Writing. I purchased the book from my best friend Amazon after I'd heard several people who are actually writing say it was the best book on writing that they'd read. And I probably wouldn't have fallen for it (I don't usually like what critics like, remember?) but I read an interview of Stephen King and Jerry Jenkins in Writer's Digest or The Writer. I mean, clearly someone who can write about creepy clowns knows a thing or two about fear, but I don't like fear (just the hardcover image of his writing book feels threatening to me). I want trilling bluebirds and dancing rabbits and maybe a car chase or explosion just for interest. I am...widely-read.

But...I bought the paperback. And I opened it up last night. And I was hooked because cleverness is cleverness is cleverness...whether you are writing about horrors or writing or bluebirds or car chases. You know how Randy always says "you could sing the phone book" on American Idol? Talent will just show up when you have it, no matter the assignment.

Stephen King could write the phone book (loses a little in that form but the idea is the same). I'd be scared to pick it up, but once I had it open, I'd probably read it cover to cover.

1 comment:

pat sloan said...

ohhhhhhhhhh.. now I want to read it!!! And I only read ONE Of his books as I can't do scary!!

ps... my grandparents had THAT cellar door.. in green.. went to the part of the basement with the coal furnace.. and wringer washing machine...... I'm not joking