There are ‘How to’ books and then there are ‘How to’ books (#stephenking)


I’ve never read a Stephen King novel.

I know that’s quite shocking from one who loves books but it’s true. I grew up associating his name with horror films, the likes of which did not appeal to me in my teens or twenties. There I’ve said it and I shall shrug my shoulders with confident self esteem when you throw eggs at me and tell me I’ve been missing out all these years!

IT flooded our cinema screens last year and this was the first of his creations I actively chose to go and see.

I hate clowns. This was a potential problem, but after I’d accepted the character and his wonky eye, I was more worried about the boy being sucked down the drain.

As films go, I’d personally still rather see a Bond but I think I was probably missing the point (as many readers and literally people do) according to Stephen in his ‘ON WRITING’ book, first published in 2000.

(My blogging friend Mike2all points out that some of the later films based on Stephen’s novels are totally different and when I found out that Shawshank Redemption – one of my favourite films – was based on his writing, I was gobsmacked!).

His words in this part-memoir and part writing tips book are blowing me away, right out of the building where the front door has ‘Leave your assumptions outside please’ written in permanent marker.

I hadn’t realised he was a human. With a past. An alcoholic and a drug addict at one sorry time. With a wife who has stood by him and real, actual live children whom he nurtured and loves very much.   He had a big desk, but prefers now to write at a smaller one.   He’s grown a thick skin against his critics (yes; even HE had/s them!).   Guess what he does?  Shrugs his shoulders and carries on writing.

I’m falling in love with him, maybe his words then. The tips he is sharing with us aspiring writers choosing to read his book are carefully woven into memoirs. Taking us back to his childhood, his teenage years, his first dabbled attempts at newspaper articles, the mountain of rejection slips he received, his recollection when his first big book ‘Carrie’ sold a few thousand copies in the first print run and how he and his wife were finally able to instal a telephone.

He suggests we read all the time while writing and this pleases me immensely as I’ve done more of both in the last six months than in the whole of my children’s lives (and they are 19 and 18 remember).  He writes daily, aiming for 2000 words!   May God forgive me here for swearing. (It’s ok, I deleted it and wrote that sentence instead.)  He says we should be aiming for 1000 words daily; this is do-able.

He also reads slowly so now I love him truly because I do too. I’m not one of those that can open a book and stay up all night and finish it (though I have read half his book across two days so far!).

You HAVE to buy this book if you write – (fiction especially).

Talk about timely for me … and yesterday I believe the tides have turned, as I purchased my very own SK novel (actually co-written with one of his sons, Owen). Check me out now 💃🏼 a Stephen King fan (and I KNOW I am in good company 🤗).

Missed you yesterday but I’m trying my new hat on for size. The participant-on-an-online-writing-course hat.

I’ve done homework today and EVERYTHING!!! (Luckily mother in law has just offered to cook us dinner, that’s why I’m sitting here chatting to you, or I’d be wearing my wife/mummy hat by now).

I’ll tell you more about that later, promise x