stephen king

The Research Trap


Over the weekend, Ash introduced me to an interesting blog post from her one-time lecture and novelist David Rain, busting the “Seven Myths of Writing. I don’t usually go in for writing advice much, partly because the craft is such a personal thing. Stephen King’s “On Writing” is a book I really enjoyed, but it was “how Stephen King writes” rather than “how you should write”.

David’s approach, however, was interesting. It wasn’t advice per se, but rather challenging some common pre-conceptions. Myth number two in particular leapt out at me, “The Myth of Perfect Preparation“:

…the truth about research and planning, for fiction at least, is this: Do the minimum. Do just enough to get going, and no more… Research is a bottomless pit. If you do it without knowing where you’re going or what you need…it’ll be a long time before you write Chapter One…

Read on…

Why doesn’t Stephen King like Kubrick’s “The Shining”?

the shining shelley duval

At it’s most basic, I’d suggest, the answer is because he doesn’t have to.

Some background first, perhaps. Presumably as part of the publicity for his new novel, The Shining-sequel Doctor Sleep, Stephen King has given an interview to the BBC in which he explains why he doesn’t like Stanley Kubrick’s classic adaptation of his novel.

Now, I don’t think it was a secret that Mr King wasn’t a fan. Certainly it didn’t surprise me. But it seems to have kicked up a bit of an online storm, with the New Statesman posting a particularly smug piece entitled Stephen King still won’t accept Kubrick’s genius.

Read on…

I Need a Reading Lamp

A reading lamp may be the solution I need for my reading vexations.

I’ve decided that I don’t read enough. This, as you might imagine, is a problem for a writer. It’s not that I don’t enjoy writing any more (I do), or that I can’t afford books (I can- and anyway I get a healthy quantity of my reading material from my local library). It’s because I don’t seem to have the time any more- or rather I don’t make the time.

So much of my day seems to be taken up with politics, work, a thousand and one trivial tasks, or the act of writing itself. Which is great- I love being so active, and I love that I still find plenty of time to write. But as a great man* once said:

If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.

Which means I have a problem, even if I’m not feeling the effects just yet. So I’ve decided to “schedule” some reading time. Which sounds grander than it actually is. Basically, instead of falling asleep watching a film or TV show, I’ll fall asleep with a book (or my Kindle).

There’s something nice about this. I think it goes back to when I was very young, and my parents used to read to me at bedtime. More times than not, I would fall asleep before they finished, and lose myself in whatever fantastical worlds I was frequenting. Even today it’s a warm and safe feeling. Although a little annoying when I reach the point of reading the same sentence over and over before I realise it’s time to call it a night.

The only problem with this plan is to do with lighting. My lightswitch is next to the door- across the other side of my room. So when I’m tired, ready for sleep, I have to put down my book (or Kindle), get out of bed, cross the room and turn it off. Not exactly the most relaxing end to an evening. Conclusion: I need a reading lamp.

*Mr Stephen King