Tuesday, February 15, 2011
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
This is one of those intended posts that got lost in the ether somewhere in 2010. The recent news about The Stand and Pet Cemetery remakes is what jogged my memory. I'm a longtime fan of his work and the book is a terrific listen — got it on audio. King gives a detailed account of how he became a successful writer, kicked a nasty addiction problem and recovered from that devastating, near-fatal car accident.
There's no magic bullet to success, no secret formula to be found, just hard work and a bit of luck — his wife Tabitha pulled an unfinished Carrie manuscript from the trash and encouraged him to work on it.
One my favorite parts of the book is a little exercise he takes the reader through. You start off with a fairly generic plot, and then twist it until it becomes something unique, or at least not so run-of-the mill. It took me a couple of stubborn years to realize that ideas are a dime a dozen. I kept searching for "the one..."
Anyone can Google the weird news story of the day and dream up an idea for a script. Heck, I do it three times a week on Twitter for fun. But can you turn it into something that stands out from countless writers with the same exact idea? That's your true challenge. Execution is King — pun partially intended.