Wednesday, October 6, 2010

...I think one of my favorite sounds/things is hearing my kids belly laugh and being the cause of that laughter. Sometimes my kids and I will laugh so hard we'll cry. That's about as good as it gets.

...I was going to start the new novel today but, of course, I wrote a story instead. It's sad and somewhat biographical, yet I like it because the voice isn't mine--or rather, it's not my typical voice but one I might have had if my life had turned out different.

...I've been reading Young Adult novels, prepping for my enterance into that genre. A lot of YA novels really suck. I mean, suck as in loud, rumbling Hoover vacuum cleaner suck. It's tragic. What's with all the werewolves and vampire romances? I feel like a dope reading some of them, yet once I begin a book I always finish it. JK Rowling did wizards as art and kids got it.

...And then we have Stephen King, who wrote a lot of that stuff long beforehand. He didn't suck. He still doesn't suck. I know some haughty lit people might shout him down, but he's a craftsman. And prolific. He could write about a rabid dog or a possessed automobile and make you think it was true. These werewolf-vampire books out today are vapid. I think they condescend to kids.

...Speaking of Mr. King, I read his very fine book, "On Writing" a year ago and there are some wonderful insights in, many about writing, but many about life. Enjoy:

“When you’re still too young to shave, optimism is a perfectly legitimate response to failure.”
“Life isn’t a support system for art; it’s the other way around.”
“You can learn only by doing.”
“Good writing is seduction.”
“Novels are really letters aimed at one person.”
“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”
“You’d do well to remember that were also talking about magic.”
“The closed door is your way of telling the world that you mean business.”
“Book-buyers aren’t attracted, by and large, by the literary merits of a novel: book-buyers want a good story to take with them on the airplane, something that will first fascinate them, then pull them in and keep them turning the pages.”
“If you don’t want to work your ass off, you have no business trying to write well.”
“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 of, no shortcut.”
“Sometimes paragraphs quicken and begin to breathe.”
“I would argue that the paragraph, not the sentence, is the basic unit of writing—the place where coherence begins and words stand a chance of becoming more than mere words. If the moment of quickening is to come, it comes at the level of the paragraph.”
“I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs.”
“Fear is the root of most bad writing.”
“Paragraphs are almost as important for how they look as for what they say; they are road maps of intent.”
“Writing is refined thinking.”
“Language does not always have to wear a tie and lace-up shoes. The object of fiction isn’t grammatical correctness but to make the reader welcome and then tell a story
“When you write a story, you’re telling yourself the story. When you re-write, your main job is taking out the things that are not the story.”
“Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference. They don’t have to make speeches. Just believing is usually enough.”

“The reader must always be your main concern; without Constant Reader, you are just a voice quacking in the void.”
“Stopping a piece of work just because it’s hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea. Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing is to shovel shit from a sitting position.”
--Stephen King, “On Writing.”

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