The first half of the book is a quick autobiography. It's funny, self-deprecating and fascinating. I had no idea about any of Stephen King's past or childhood and found it riveting, which is probably largely to do with his excellent writing! Still, he's got thirty years on me, so hopefully with experience I can catch-up! Following the autobiography is what he calls a writers 'tool kit' - a section dedicated to whipping would-be authors into line and telling us a few fundamental tips. The two that stick out in my mind are:
Reading is the creative centre of a writer's life. I take a book with me everywhere I go...The real importance of reading is that it creates an ease and intimacy with the process of writing. The more you read, the less apt you are to make a fool of yourself with your pen or word processor.
This is great news to me, as an avid reader. I can only hope that it is true and I don't make a fool of myself with my writing!
By the time you step into your writing space and close the door, you should have settled on a daily writing goal... I suggest a thousand words a day, and because I'm feeling magnanimous, I'll also suggest that you take one day off a week, at least to begin with. No more; you'll lose the urgency and immediacy of your story if you do.
However obvious this advice may seem to those sensible types out there, to me this was a revelation! It also explained the negative feedback I'd received from my agent in the summer, regarding a new YA I'd started - she said it felt disconnected. This was probably due to me doing exactly what Stephen King tells you to avoid - I would write a chapter one weekend, send it off and then wait two weeks for feedback, before starting the the next! No wonder it was fragmented!
So at 09:20 with this piece of advice in mind, I cleared the kitchen table, made myself a large mug of tea and
sat down in front of my laptop to make a start on WITCHCRAFT! First I re-read the 6000 odd words I had previously written, split it into two chapters, typed 'Chapter Three', and got to work!
By 11:00 I had the 1000 words required so I made another mug of tea and decided to do another hour before CSI came on! By twelve I had 1575 words, not bad for the first day back!
This is the last thing I wrote today:
‘Is that how little you think of me Eva? Yes, she got the book. She sucked us into some kind of vortex thing, and I risked everything to save that book by jumping out of what she called ‘ley-lines’. That’s how I broke my arm. I dislocated my shoulder too, but that went back,’ I added with a retch, as I remembered the sickening crack as it clicked back into place.