Book Reviews, The Publishing Process, Writing Advice

Stephen King, Back to Haunt Me.

I love the satisfying structure of circular stories.

Wuthering Heights was my favourite book for years.  Catherine and Hareton coming together at the end turns the book into one of hope. Out of all that ugliness, all that sorrow, come  two people capable of kindness, strength, love.

J K Rowling does a similar thing in Harry Potter.  I know some people don’t like the end – the happy ever after – but I do.  Not the marriages, but how the orphaned Ted Lupin isn’t shoved in a cupboard like Harry was. Ted is surrounded by loving families and treasured.  Hope out of sorrow.

When I was growing up I was scared of the dark. Whether to spite myself or to seek some kind of understanding,  I read horror stories. I read until I could barely keep my eyes open, then I’d shove the books away and weigh them down with my school bag to stop the monsters escaping. It didn’t work.

Stephen King robbed me of a thousand night’s sleep.  He also showed  me it was possible to create a world so vivid it could live outside the book it was written in.

When I started to write, I thought about going back to those books to see how he did it.  Age had robbed me of courage though – I couldn’t risk the loss of sleep.  Even when I learned he’d written a book  called On Writing,  I was too scared to read it. King talks of a time-travel connection that exists  between the writer and the reader.  I was afraid of that.  On Writing  sat on my library shelf for about three years.

Every unpublished writer wonders when it’s time to  say ‘enough’.  By the end of last year,  my life had got pretty stressful . The farm was a struggle.  I’d had yet another rejection  – those good rejections really do hurt sometimes don’t they?  I thought I’d reached the magic marker of  ‘enough’. I’d stop writing,  concentrate on the farm.  My agent had a couple of new scripts of mine, I’d  see what happened with those before I’d pick up my pen again. Ideas mulled around in my head but I was firm.

For about three weeks.

About the time I could bear it no longer, when  I realised I was grouching at my family  because I wasn’t writing (junky),  On Writing fell into my hands .

King’s book is an easy to read master class.   He shares. It’s full of how and what and, importantly for me, why?

I’m a writer.

I can no more give up writing than I could give up skin.  It’s part of me, it makes me happy, I need it.

King was there at the beginning of my writing life  and up he popped, when I thought I was at the end,  to tell me that I wasn’t.

Thank you Mr King.

Circular stories.  I love them.

10 thoughts on “Stephen King, Back to Haunt Me.”

  1. Another great post about hanging on–and reaching for a great lifeline! I love that book. Take care.

    1. Thanks Jane – yes part of me wishes I’d read it years ago! In fact, am tempted to go straight back and start again.

  2. I don’t know if it’ writing i’m addicted to i actually find that quite hard. I think it’s the creation and the rush of feeling when you’re pretending to be someone else. And
    I have to make things.
    Thanks for the post Kathy, really good.

  3. I came to the conclusion years ago that the characters and stories were going to keep on coming whether I wrote them down or not. I love writing; the mechanics of it, the secrets waiting to be mastered, the creativeness, the playfulness, the hard work, the people in my writing world, the things I get to discuss like – is bottom funnier than bum.

  4. I don’t know what part of writing I’m addicted to, because sometimes all of it seems hard! But damn it if I don’t keep coming back for more – some kind of masochistic personality trait, perhaps…

  5. Lovely post, Kathy. I’ve always loved the Hareton an Cathy storyline, too. And I’m so glad that you haven’t stopped writing (as if you could!) x

  6. It’s a peculiar kind of love-hate compulsion. The bit I love is the creating and imagining. The bit I have is being so neurotically dependent on other people’s judgment. As for the bottom/ bum question: bum is naturally funnier, short, soft, rude. But bottom has a place too: arch, prim and better for double entendres.

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