Take-aways from On Writing

OnWritingBookCoverWhile reading On Writing by Stephen King at the beginning of the year, I made notes, wherever was convenient at that particular moment – things I wanted to remember.  I like getting a resource messy – highlighting passages, underlying things, and making notes in the margins because the book is a tool, and although I felt that way about On Writing, I couldn’t force myself to mark up it’s pages.

In some way, I suppose, the book didn’t feel like a resource.  You know the kind.  You ear mark pages, and put in little sticky notes out the side to refer to at any given time.  His book was an easy read, a lesson, but not one I thought I would go back to in the same way.  I don’t know if that makes any sense…?

These are a few of the topics that stood out:

1.  Our influences as a child cause us to be “built” a certain way.  I can attest to that.  I was designed with a love for being swept off my feet and happily-ever-afters.  Of course, that’s not how my life has been, but those are the types of stories I want to write, regardless of how un-feminist it may be considered.  There’s enough darkness in the world, and movies are for escape.  Besides, fads come and go, and the desire for a feel good movie will always be in fashion.

2.  King noted that we write with one person in mind – the one we want to WOW.  For him it’s wife, for me it’s The Sis.  I never even thought about that until I saw the words on the page.  I do remember how proud I was that one of my screenplays made her cry, just a little.  She’s a tough nut to crack, and if I could get her teary-eyed, then I knew it worked.  I realized with his words, that it was her I wanted to impress, not the masses.  Although, yes, I want them to come running too.

3.  When you’ve finished writing your story, ask yourself, “Why did I bother?”  What was so important about this story that you had to tell it?  This is a great note to post on your computer or wherever you write.  Sometimes we get lost along the way, and this may help us remember the spark of the idea that instigated the story in the first place.  I wrote about this once in regards to my last full length feature I was working on.  I had sort of lost focus, hence the mid-stopping point.  Now I know how to get back into it.

As I’m trying to be better about sharing what I learn (and I am so behind in that), I thought you might find these ideas interesting while shedding a light on your own writing.

Do they strike you the same way they did me?

Happy Writing!


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