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)

Observations, writing

Triple I of writers: Inspiration, Ideas, Imagination

 “Inspiration, Ideas, Imagination”  are only a part of the writing process but they are a MAJOR one.

Stephen King mentioned in his book On Writing (which I still have not read – I need to get on this) that he gets his ideas from a “small, bloodthirsty elf who lives in a hole under my desk”.  Hmm any of you have one of those little elves (they do sound scary though). While this elf is less scary, I also don’t think Mister King has Will Ferrell under his desk.

Ok Mister King also said that: “I get my ideas from everywhere. But what all of my ideas boil down to is seeing maybe one thing, but in a lot of cases it’s seeing two things and having them come together in some new and interesting way, and then adding the question ‘What if?’ ‘What if’ is always the key question.”  So it appears that M. King is both active and passive in his ways of getting the Triple I.

Where do writers get them?” vs. “Where do they hit writers?”

 The construction of those two sentences says it all. In one case, we’re the subject and in the other we become the direct object.

Are we passive or active in our quest for the shiny twist or the unforgettable character?

I started pondering about this because of the flash fiction I posted on my blog on Monday and which you can read here. This little piece which started with a given sentence has since then tickled my fancy.  I enjoyed the voice, it felt easy and right but the characters would like me to tell their story. I have to shush them right now because I’m revising and I already started another draft of another story. But I digress.

I never stopped to think about my ideas. I have them. Or not. Depending on the days but I do rely on them to keep me going. Sometimes, they flow through my fingertips. Sometimes, I go through the creative process, where I try to find new ideas, new twists and whenI stop to ask the “What if?” question. I can ask this question in very random places or just by watching people go about their business. I am very good at the “What if?” I can get a bit on the anxious side  using this way of thinking in my daily tasks.

My husband who reads this is probably rolling his eyes at the words  “a bit”…

While I need to lower my “What if” scenarios when it comes to my non-writing endeavours, I think it does help me a lot, even subconsciously, with my creative process.

I strongly believe that writers are both active and passive in their quest. We have integrated certain processes and our imagination runs wild at unexpected places. However, we also work towards our “Triple I”. How? We read a lot, we scrap entire passages in our writing process because we know it does not work and we buckle up for the tough ride which is writing. We trigger our “Triple I” buttons by consciously taking part in prompts, in discussions…We type, even if it is only a few words, even if those words hurt because we know that, for the most part, the triple I is around there with us. It helps us to almost forget about those difficult moments when the writing gets going and when we fall in our happy, fulfilling, exciting writing place.

What do YOU think? Are we passive or active with our Triple I?