Monday, September 10, 2012

STEPHEN KING ON SHORT STORIES

In this post I wanted to share with you some interesting information about Stephen King on short stories. The following he wrote about very early in his career when the little bit of extra income he needed came from the short stories he was able to sell: "The stories when they sold (they didn't always), were simply a welcome bit of found money. I viewed them as a series of pinatas I banged on, not with a stick but my imagination. Sometimes they broke and showered down a few hundred bucks. Other times, they didn't."

As Stephen King became involved in his novel writing he wrote fewer and fewer short stories. He became dismayed. There were stories he no longer knew how to write, these stories were eluding him. "There are a lot of things in life that are like riding a bike, but writing short stories isn't one of them. You can forget how. Certainly it never occurred to me that writing short stories is a fragile craft, one that can be forgotten if it isn't used almost constantly. It didn't feel fragile to me then." Stephen King thought if he read enough short fiction, immersed himself in it he might be able to recapture some of the effortlessness that had been slipping away. He didn't see losing his ability to write short stories as a fair exchange for a wallet load of credit cards. From there he read hundreds of stories during his year as a guest editor for Best American Short Stories and as he had hoped he got excited all over again and started writing short stories again.

After reading this I have come to the following conclusions:

Even the best of writers struggled long and hard before their careers took off. It was their persistence, determination and hard work that fulfilled their hopes and dreams.

The absolute importance of using your creative ability constantly so it doesn't become lost.

Keep writing....

58 comments:

  1. Great post! I love the wisdom of Mr King :-) x

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    1. Thanks Teresa. I'm always keen to read about what he has to say. x

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  2. I love that post too, Diane, and thanks for reminding us about his persistence and the importance of reading the kind of fiction we hope to write!

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    1. Thanks Rosemary,and you are welcome. I too need to be reminded. x

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  3. I've always written novels, but then decided to try my hand at shorts, and found I love them. It's so different, not harder or easier than writing full length work, but a different mind set.

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    1. Hi Anne - thanks for leaving a comment. So true what you said. :-)

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  4. Very very true!

    Short stories are fun, but oh so hard to write!

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    1. They sure are fun Talli... love writing them! :-)

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  5. Reading lots of short short stories certainly gets me in the mood for writing more of them. I am reading a book of short stories by Philippa Gregory and I love Roald Dahl's collection too. Both inspire me.

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    1. I totally agree with you Maggie May. I recently started reading books of short stories. I'm always reading the mag stories but thought maybe the anthologies will inspire me too. Lol, can't hurt x

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  6. Thanks for that post, Diane. The phrase 'use it or lose it' springs to mind.

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    1. You are most welcome Dream It. I like what you said, 'use it or lose it' - perfectly summed up. Thank you :-)

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  7. Liked this post. Am inspired, in fact, as twist in the tale stories seem to come naturally to me. May I share a FREE one of these that I have posted on Smashwords specifically with women readers in mind? The link is http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/120632 (if it is not clickable, please copy and paste it in your browser and hit 'enter')

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment Wackyscribe. I will check out your link. :-)

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  8. Hear hear! Great ost, Diane and so true... Some of Kings short story collections are the best there is and, in my opinion, better than some of his novels.

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  9. I appreciate the encouragement - we do need to keep writing. It's funny, sometimes we think the famous writers are immune to this kind of thing. But really, they are much like us. :)

    Happy weekend!

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    1. Hi Karen. Yes, I have to say I found it comforting to know we have some things in common with those famous writers. Kind of gives me hope :-)

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  10. This post is an important reminder to keep on writing and to find ways to encourage ourselves in the creatively lean times :-)

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    1. Thanks heaps Merlene. I appreciate your words. x

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I will have a look at your web page :-)

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  12. It's sometimes easy to forget that successful people (a la Stephen King) can have moments of doubt with their writing. We do need to keep writing and improving and doing the best we can.

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  13. I'm the other way around - it took me ages to learn how to write short stories but now I'm really into 'flash' fiction - really tiny ones. Then when I go back to my novel I really struggle to write less concisely! lol. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Lol - as always, thanks for your comment Broken Biro :-)

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  14. I don't want to risk forgetting how, so I'd better keep on writing the shorts!

    Diane, there's an award for you over on my blog.

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  15. I've chosen you for the next big thing award : ) helenellwood.blogspot.com

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  16. So very true, Dianne! If King worries then my own concerns are par for the course and I will keep on keeping on! Persistence is the name of the game.

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  17. Hi, Diane.
    You haven't posted anything new for a while and I wondered if anything had happened. But I see you're still answering comments so I guess you're o.k.
    Did you get my e-mail a few weeks ago about one of your stories I found? I thought maybe you hadn't opened it if you didn't recognise the sender.

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    1. Hi Dream It - I have to say your comment warmed my heart - thank you for your concern. Always good to know someone cares. No, I didn't get your e-mail and if you can please forward it again tobeachbum@hotmail.com that would be appreciated. My nemesis, 'anxiety' has struck again and thrown me a curve ball but this time I've gained some courage and am getting help for it. I am still writing though.. that I will always do! You take care and again, I thank you. Hugs.

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  18. Howdy Miss Diane. Just passing through. Happy Christmas.

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    1. Always a pleasure. Thank you, kind Sir. Happy Christmas and may 2013 bring you much peace and happiness. Hugs.

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  19. You are so right about creative energy. I believe the more space you allow for your creativity, the more you develop a feeling for reality. Happy 2013!

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    1. Thanks Angelikas and a happy 2013 to you too!

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  20. Replies
    1. HAPPY NEW YEAR Patsy - may it bring you all your hearts desires and then some x

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  21. Post writing is also a excitement, if you be familiar with after that you can write otherwise it is complex to write.



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  24. Howdy Diane. Though it'd bring me much peace and happiness to shoot the varmints that see fit to deposit all kinds of nonsense here, it just ain't practical. I'll settle for knowing you're well and good and your absence is only due to you being so darn busy writing.

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    1. Always a pleasure to hear from you Mr V. You sure are right about those 'varmints' but feel free to shoot away. I'm battling along, one day at a time. The ridiculous amount of rain falling my way is not helping my general mood... rain, rain go away. I've been focusing on short story writing... three published this year so far. I must get back to blogging... missing my blogging friends that's for sure. I hope you are well dear Sir.

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  25. Having read this I thought it was rather enlightening.
    I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put
    this information together. I once again find myself personally spending a lot of time both reading and leaving
    comments. But so what, it was still worth it!



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  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  28. You can’t write when it rains, huh? Hmm, that’s too bad. Course that don’t mean you can’t write a sunny story. Betcha could write a real good one too, though I guess you’re doing fine as it is. Three feathers in your cap already is impressive. Me, I’m fine. I just wish I could blast some of these varmints.

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    1. Smiling. I can always count on you Mr V to put a smile on my face. If I could bottle you I would. You made some really good points and have put me in a positive mood... I can't thank you enough for that. Big hug for you Mr V.

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  29. You’re welcome, Miss Diane. Smiles like yours are too good to waste, and that’s a fact. Nothing dries up in the rain. You just need a little sunshine, sometimes, to make things grow. Now, if you were to find yourself a blank page and sprinkle a few words on it, and remember the sheer joy of writing without worrying about anything else, I reckon that’d be the best thank you I ever had.

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    1. Beautiful and precious words - Thank you x

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  30. Howdy Di. Just letting you know I'm back. For a little while, anyway. If you ain't too busy writing, maybe you'll stop by sometime.

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  31. I'm moving on now, Diane. Keep writing, keep smiling. So long Pard.

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    1. I'd like to say a big THANK YOU for all your wise words, for your inspiration and most of all for making me smile. Move on well Mr V. Hugs.

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  32. Good food for thought. I think King maybe went too far in the other direction. His stories and novels grew and grew. Just look at under the dome! I love King, but I think sometimes he tries to cover too much and make his world "too big."

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