Monday, February 9, 2015

How Writers Made It BIG: Stephen King

"I was made to write stories . . . that's why I do it. I really can't imagine doing anything else," said New York Time's best-seller, Stephen King.

Photo from:

Like many writers, King knew that writing was his talent. And indeed, it surely was.

While living in a trailer, King went to work on his fourth novel. It was to be a short story for Cavalier Magazine.

King had the idea to write about a teenage girl named Carrie with the gift of telekinesis. He got this idea from a book he had previously read about mental abilities. However, his idea for the main character's personality had derived from paying close attention to a girl he knew in middle school and high school.
"She was a very peculiar girl who came from a very peculiar family. Her mother wasn't a religious nut like the mother in Carrie; she was a game nut, a sweepstakes nut who subscribed to magazines for people who entered contests … the girl had one change of clothes for the entire school year, and all the other kids made fun of her. I have a very clear memory of the day she came to school with a new outfit she'd bought herself. She was a plain-looking country girl, but she'd changed the black skirt and white blouse – which was all anybody had ever seen her in – for a bright-colored checkered blouse with puffed sleeves and a skirt that was fashionable at the time. And everybody made worse fun of her because nobody wanted to see her change the mold, " said King. 
Once King finished the first three pages, he threw them in the trash--something I would do.

King had said:
"Some woman said, 'You write all those macho things, but you can't write about women.' I said, 'I'm not scared of women. I could write about them if I wanted to.' So I got an idea for a story about this incident in a girls' shower room, and the girl would be telekinetic. The other girls would pelt her with sanitary napkins when she got her period. The period would release the right hormones and she would rain down destruction on them… I did the shower scene, but I hated it and threw it away." 
But like any other good spouse, King's wife dug his papers out of the trash, encouraging him to finish it. And once he finished it two weeks later, he sent it out.

Soon enough, he received a telegraph that said: Carrie Officially A Doubleday Book. $2,500 Advance Against Royalties. Congrats, Kid - The Future Lies Ahead, Bill.

Before he knew it, New American Library had purchased 400,000 rights for his paperback book, and a year after the release, it sold one million copies.

Now, over forty years later, King is still known for Carrie and many other books he's written that makes readers afraid to sleep at night.

What to learn from Stephen King:

-Even if you have a wacky idea, don't give up on it. The odd ideas tend to be the best ideas.

Shock Factor:

-Can we just take a moment to reflect on the fact that King wrote a stellar book in TWO WEEKS. That's a record.

-Though Carrie was his fourth novel, it was his first published book.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Writing In Times of Sorrow

It seems as if I've fallen off the face of the planet. 

It's probably true.

On January first, a friend of mine died in a tragic car crash.

When I found out, it felt like the universe had been sucked from it's oxygen, and I couldn't breathe.

Because even doing that hurt.

At some point, I decided to write. I decided I would take my pain and put it into words. But it wasn't as easy as I thought it might be. It took me a week to even write this post.

All my hipster friends were writing about it the day after they found out, and I absolutely could not. I wanted it to feel right, but it felt weird. How could I do something I loved, when someone I loved was gone?

My friend was a writer, too. We weren't super close, and this year, our paths had kind of split into two, but when it came to writing, it was almost like we were the closest of friends. Writing does that to people. It compels you to start an estranged friendship. And she wasn't into the big wigs, nor did she want to get a book published. But she was the in-the-closet, really-good, sultry, hard-core-love-song, kind of writer. And that made her ten times the woman than she already was.

She was actually reading one of my books (though the book she was reading was crap, and I don't blame her for never getting around to finishing it,) but I realized that, even in times of triumphs and chaos, I could write. I was given that. She wanted to read my book because she wanted to help me make it better. She believed in me, and the fact that I was even pursuing my dream meant a lot to her.

She inspired me to continue writing that third/fourth book I always give up on. (And trust me, I always give up on it.)

This whole death thing is weird, but somehow . . . somehow, there's goodness in all of it. While our clocks still tick, it's easy to forget the things that we're passionate about. It's so easy to forget the moments and words that make our hearts stop beating for a millisecond.

And when her clock ran out, she reminded me of how precious my time here really was. She reminded me why I was passionate about writing. She reminded me that many good things can actually form from dust.

So though her body is gone, her soul is still alive, and because of her I have a damn-good, sultry, hard-core, love story.

Thank you, Q.

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