Thursday, September 29, 2016

On writing – A memoir of the craft, Stephan King

This is the first book of Stephan King that I have read.  I have seen voluminous books with his names in the Library, but never dared to touch any of them.  I considered it below my standard to read any of the thrillers by any writer.  Yes I could have read them in my twenties but not now.  Still I had to confront him.  His name appeared in the credits of two films I liked. Doleres and Misery.  Rather, I first saw the tamil version of the film Misery and found it different and I had my doubts. It could not have been the original imagination of a tamil writer or Director.   Later when I watched Misery, it turned out to be true.  The story attracted my attention and I found Stephan King’s name for the first time on screen.  While watching another very interesting film, Doleres, I found his name in the credits.  But my interests stopped there.  The dialogues of the film mostly based on the novel, contained very sensible lines.  I liked them.

            This kindled my interest in Stephan King and I started reading this book now I am writing about.   First part of the book is the actual memoir.  Stephan King writes about his life from his childhood.  HE had developed a passion for his books in early childhood and in high school he started writing stories in the school magazine.  He narrates his struggles for becoming a writer while doing all kinds of odd jobs for survival. His father had left his mother and his mother had to take care of Stephan King and his brother with her meagrely income. His life had been a struggle.  He kept his passion for writing alive and tried to get his stories published.  Many of his initial stories had been returned with rejection slips.  Ultimately, one story was published and publisher had sent a cheque for an unbelievable amount, unbelievable for him, for it was equal to an year’s income of his mother.  He was dumbfounded for sometime and shared this news of his success with his mother.

            He also narrates one incident.  He was signing away his new books at a book store.  There was a long queue.  One man standing in the queue showed him one manuscript he had sent to him many years ago.  This man was a publisher of a magazine.  He had the habit of keeping all the manuscripts received by him in proper form.  This story was not published. This man, standing in the queue, showed this manuscript to Stephan King and sought his signature.   This is one of the memorable incidents cited in this book.

            In the second part of the book the author describes the method and nature of writing and explains the intricacies of writing stories to the new writer.  HE repeats many of the techniques of portrayal, story telling and careful use of language by giving concrete example.  This may be of help to a person aspiring to be a writer, i.e. commercial writer.  Some of the editing tips, language tips and narrative tips are very useful.  But I found it slightly boring, though I finished the book.  Meant for young ones interested in knowing the art of story telling.

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