Thoughts On Writing
I finished reading On Writing by Stephen King a couple of weeks ago. As I mentioned before, there is a lot to digest in this relatively thin volume. When you account for the fact that half the book is a memoir, you realize the number of words devoted to the craft of writing are few indeed. Still, Stephen King scatters gems throughout the pages dedicated to the writing craft.
The memoir portion of the book is interesting. Stephen King recounts some fascinating tales about his formative years, many, at least tangentially, related to his early writing exploits as a preteen and teenager. I’m by no means a fan of memoirs, but I found the vignettes he painted engaging.
The second half of the book is dedicated to the master’s thoughts on writing. One take away is, Stephen King doesn’t plan, at least not in the traditional sense and not too much. He claims to have only plotted a couple of his books, the rest he let the characters guide him. He doesn’t even create character sketches, presumably. This approach is antithetical to how my writing group was taught by our dearly departed resident writer. Plan. Plan. Plan. That was his mantra. Most of your time should be spent planning and editing. Only about 20% of your time is spent writing the draft. That’s the other interesting thing about Stephen King, he doesn’t seem to spend much time editing his work either. He writes the first draft. Edits it, so he has a second draft. Then…done! Wow. That is super impressive.
Myself, I’ve settled on an iterative planning approach. I think it’s working pretty well, especially for my current WIP. But, perhaps, this is a subject for a future post.