I remember when I first started getting serious about writing, around the age of 14, how when I would find myself trying to figure things out for whatever genre I wanted to tackle, I would have a dream about Stephen King.
The first time it happened there was an avalanche, and he and I were hanging on for our lives and I only had time for one question before we both fell to our deaths. I asked him, “How do you write really good horror?”
“The important thing is the story…”~Stephan King
After watching an interview with Stephan King (posted below) I have come to realize the meaning of the question. What is the meaning of our writing? That in all the things surrounding us, with all the changes that we have no control over, the important thing is INDEED the story, as Stephen King explains in his interview.
The important thing is the story…Our words are important, how we use them, which ones we choose to add and those we wisely omit are important. Our actions are important. The messages we leave for generations are extremely important. Our stories are important, whether we are writers or not.
For me, some of the saddest reading experiences have been those where an author disregards the importance of what they are saying or doing in and through their characters. In, what I am assuming is an attempt to keep their audience’s attention, they will throw in random scenes or behaviors that make no sense for the plot, do not in fact make the narrative more robust, but actually derail it in a beyond disappointing way.
I speak more about this in The Cardinal Sin of the Plot Hole and How to Avoid It.
The other thing that I took away from listening to this short interview is the fact that Stephen King has allotted time for his writing, he has a system. He calls it “writing hypnosis.”
Hearing this gives me a level of peace. For those of you who are also artists and writers, you understand how “odd” or awkward you feel when we get in the rut of comparing the system of our lives to that of those closest to us.
If we are the only writers or artists in our families or friend circle, we can oftentimes come off as bizarre. Our routine is often questioned as if we have a clinical issue … I’m joking, but marginally serious.
I remember watching the movie, The Man Who Invented Christmas with Dan Stevens. It is a tale that cleverly and beautifully tells the story of how the Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens was born. The movie shows how Dickens is harassed by his fictional characters who demand he write their story, constantly interrupting his everyday life and responsibilities.
Dickins, in his frustration, responds with many “I can’t right now!” answers. Sitting with my two friends, neither of whom are writers of fiction, I was asked if what Dickens was experiencing was actually what happened with me or other writers. I answered the affirmative to which one friend casually said, “So you writers are borderline schizophrenic.”
We are not schizophrenic, but we do live in many different worlds with people who have a realness of their own, one we cherish and value.
The refreshing reality that comes to me, hearing that Stephen King and other famous authors who I have read have similar behaviors, is that although we may find ourselves buried under mounds of post-it notes, unfinished drafts, and story ideas brewing in our minds, we are indeed people of order and consistency. We can be trusted to tell the story and honor the time that is needed to hone the words.
We understand the importance of telling the story because the story itself is the most important part. Sometimes, we need to be reminded of that truth, especially in the age of ‘follows’ ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes.’ We have to remember to honor the virtue of the story and who it actually is and not attempt to dress it up in ways that will make it seem like an imposter, for after all its the story that is the most important part.
For more writing tips, here is a link to another interview where Stephen King gives a lot of great advice to writers. Click HERE and enjoy!
Until next time, write on? Right ON!