Happy Friday, reading, writing

King´s On Writing makes me all kind of happy…

Thanks to Sara and her Blog-O-Rama book club idea, I finally came around to read ON WRITING and when I say “read”, I mean that my book is full of pink post-its so that I can make sure I can come back to all the spots where I nodded or smiled or wanted to throw my fist up the air and yell “YES! That´s EXACTLY it!”

Reading this book at night also triggered that type of conversation on Twitter with Jaime and Colin

If you haven´t read this book yet and you are a writer, you really should pick it up. Even if you´re not a writer, the first part where King explains his own path to becoming a writer is a perfect example of voice (heck the entire book is a superb example of voice). You could get lost in his childhood with him!

So yep, I have a lot to share on Mister King´s take on the Art of writing 😀 Actually, I already wrote a post on his view on vocabulary and language: The Beauty of Words or the Pulchritude of Morphemes?

Today, I will focus on two of the wonderful questions Sarah kindly shared as pointers for discussion. I might do follow-up posts on this book (have you noticed the amount of pink post-its? :D)

1. King’s wife Tabitha is his “Ideal Reader,” the one-person audience he has in mind when writing a first draft. When you write, do you envision a particular Ideal Reader? Who is that person and why?

As you may have guessed from yesterday´s post, my wonderful hubby is not really the Ideal Reader per se (he doesn´t read a lot and especially not fiction).  He is the Ideal Husband for my writing self. He puts up with my crap but also tells me when to stop with my crap, you know the magic balance of support and reality check :D. While I read different takes on a certain chapter or even sentence, his answer usually is: “Sounds good”, followed when he sees my frown by “come on, you know I don´t read that much!”. However, since he is very supportive, he will “listen” to my book and point out possible discrepancies in plot which I know he´s going to be amazing for and I´ll be able to discuss the motivations of my characters. While we may not agree, it will be a great exercise!

Honestly, while writing I didn´t have much of a reader in mind. I wanted to tell a story to anybody who would want to hear it. Now, in my revising process, I try to think of me as a reader: what doesn´t work at all when I dive into a book? I also see some of the wonderful teenagers I know and I think on what they tell me about books they´ve read and then I think about one of my great friends who has been kind enough at the very beginning to write me regularly to say “Where is the next chapter, Elodie? Don´t leave me hanging!”.

2. King’s self-imposed “production schedule” is 2,000 words a day and he suggests that all writers set a daily writing goal. What kind of discipline, if any, do you impose upon your own writing efforts? Do you always write at the same time of day? If so, when and why? Do you try to maintain a steady pace? Does adherence to a strict routine help your writing efforts?

King speaks about the muse several times in the book and I have to say I agree with him when he says “Your job is to make sure the muse knows where you´re going to be every day from nine ´til noon or seven ´til three. If he does know, I assure you that sooner or later, he´ll start showing up, chomping his cigar and making his magic.”

So, my muse doesn´t have a cigar (I stopped smoking around 3 months ago and it would be mean of my muse to come with something hanging from its mouth) but she/he knows where to find me from 7am to 7.30am and from 5.45pm to 6.20pm everyday (sometimes during the evening, it might be later depending what time I leave work).

I established this schedule over the past months. The muse finds me in this seating place. Yes, it´s usually crowded and no it´s not silent but I close the door on all noises, put my ipod on without really listening to the music and type away or revise away.

Right around that time, I get the urge to write. It´s really an urge, a desire, a need to put those words on my computer or to revise the story already at hand…And here I again agree with Mister King´s words:

I feel that buzz of happiness, that sense of having found the right words and put them in a line…. That makes me happy, because it’s what I was made to do….Writing did not save my life… but it has continued to do what it always has done: it makes my life a brighter and more pleasant place.”

Happy Friday and Happy writing or reading to all!

I cannot wait to go and read everybody´s take on this. If you have read On Writing, you can still join the fun! And otherwise, as always, I´m curious: who is YOUR Ideal Reader? (or your Ideal Writer :D)


16 thoughts on “King´s On Writing makes me all kind of happy…”

  1. Such a great read, and I’m glad we got to read it at the same time and share our reactions to it 😀 I kind of went overboard answering the questions (I misread Sara’s Discussion Questions post and assumed we were answering all of them O_o). Ah well. There’s much to think about and much to talk about here. I also posted a pic of my flagged, underlined, highlighted, marked up copy of the book 🙂

    1. Is it ok to say I’m happy you misread Sara’s email because I really enjoyed reading your answers? 😀 Reading this book has been a wonderful experience and I know I will get back to it from times to times (all those pink post-its need to be put to good use after all!)

    1. I can really highly recommend it, Robin 😀 It’s great! If you pick it up, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!

  2. Yep, fantastic book! And a great insight into the process of a master! My husband too is not the Ideal Reader. But like yours he puts up with a lot. 🙂


  3. Have I mentioned that I consider this book to be *the* book on writing? That it should be on every writer’s shelf, right next to Strunk and White? I think I have once or twice… 🙂 The only point of disagreement I have with King is his perspective on plotting. He appears to hate plotting with a passion. I seem to recall him saying something like “life doesn’t happen like that.” On a philosophical/theological level, I think that’s a debatable point, but more generally, I want to put my hand on Mr. King’s shoulder and say, “Steve, dude… it’s a novel. Life can happen however the heck you want it to happen–plotted or unplotted. As long as it’s a great story, yes?” (Can you hear me saying that with a still-slightly-English accent?)

    I confess that I often don’t write with an “ideal reader” in mind, and I really should, especially when I have the ideal audience in my midst. First, there’s me–if I don’t like the story, it’s not getting past first base. Then there’s my wife, who enjoys a good book but is not a voracious reader. If I can get her turning pages, I’m doing well. And finally there’s my oldest daughter, who loves to read and is also an aspiring novelist. If my YA work rings true with her, then I know I’ve got the voice right.

    I’m so glad you enjoyed ON WRITING, Elodie. It looks like you just needed to put a great big pink sticky on the front. 🙂

    1. Hmm you may have mentioned this once or twice 😀 and yes I can totally hear you trying to convince (casually) M. King on the plotting issue…

      Have you done the writing exercise he talks about in the book and sent it off to him? You could mention your view on plotting en passant there 😀

    1. Thanks Jenny 😀 It is indeed quite wonderful and I know I’ll pick it up again to read a few pages here and there!

  4. AHHH I love King’s ON WRITING, there are so many golden nuggets of wisdom written on those pages. It’s definitely a book I keep on hand at all times. He’s a fantastic teacher 🙂

    1. He is a WONDERFUL teacher, you’re right, Kerri! and his voice through the pages is just amazing! I am glad I finally read it (took me long enough :D)

  5. By the look of your comments and those of previous guests, this looks like a book I will definitely have to read!

    As for my Ideal Reader, my first two published books were really for my daughter and the neighbour who inspired me. My hubby isn’t much of a reader, but he read the first piece I ever wrote, (before my skin had been thickened by a very critical writers group) and I immediately got defensive. He has been afraid to read anything I’ve written since then! Well, except for the novel that he told me to write based one one of the few recurring dreams he remembers. I make him read it to see if it is like his dream and to make sure the science stuff rings true. Fortunately, my current writers group has a scientist in it, so he can help with that stuff, too. 🙂

    1. You should definitely pick it up 😀 It’s a wonderful book and the voice is AMAZING! 😀 I understand being defensive the first time around. Writing a book is such a personal endeavour, we pour ourselves on the pages and hearing criticism at the beginning is difficult (especially if we are perfectionists to begin with which I am starting to believe a lot of writers are :D). It’s a learning process. Now, I know I quite enjoy the criticism because it does take me to another level of writing! 😀

  6. I will admit, I don’t have a daily writing goal. But… I’m not JUST a writer right now so other work stuff gets in the way. But I do usually set weekly goals, which I usually make.

    1. Congrats on gettin your weekly goals done, Kelley! My daily goals are mainly in terms of time and getting into the habit. I found it helped quite a lot with my productivity and creativity 😀

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