Progress Update for 12/30

by sbh on Sunday - 30 December 2007

in Uncategorized

Finished up On Writing. Certainly I’m on my way to bestseller land now! In all seriousness, I found King’s “memoir of the craft” empowering. While many may malign King for being a writer of “genre fiction,” his book sales speak for themselves. The guy knows how to write. Is he a one-trick-pony? Perhaps. But, it’s okay to be a one-trick-pony if you’re the best at your trick.

Prior to finishing up On Writing, I had little idea how best to proceed with the story writing process. Part of me wanted to sketch out some characters, put them in a situation and let them act on their own. Another part of me wanted to plot out the details of the story in an outline, and then fill in the blanks.

The latter definitely worked well for writing research papers and whatnot at Harvard, however, it never really worked well for me when it came to writing stories. Stephen King let me know that it was okay not to know exactly where the story was going. If characters are going to be real, then they need to live and breathe and make their own decisions. As an author, we can often find ourselves playing the role of God a little too zealously. Back off. Let the characters make the decisions.

So, I took this attitude to “Execution,” and I was surprised where it took me. Salome and Heath made it out to the Cartwrights’ place and were surprised by what they found in the matriarch, Maggie. I was surprised too. In fact, it may be that this tail is taking a whole new direction because of just who or what Maggie has turned out to be.

In my mind, Maggie had just been another old hag. Turns out she’s a living breathing person! Distraught over the actions of her son, Bill (who has murdered someone), yet unable to bring herself to defend him.

I’d say that I took two nuggets from King:

  1. ROUTINE
  2. LET ‘EM LIVE

I’m excited to see where this leads.

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