Once Upon a Time….

karendowdall

Stephan King

 

Stephen King wrote a seminal work on fantasy fiction writing—a memoir of the craft on writing by the same name: Stephen King: A memoir of the Craft – On Writing.

When I decided to write fantasy fiction, instead of just dreaming about it, I decided the best place to start would be with Stephen King. Who better to learn from but a master fiction writer?  So, I purchased his book in the year 2005, read it several times, high-lighted tantalizing concepts, tabbed with sticky writable tabs until I had outlined the entire book.  I soon learned that reading about writing, tabbing every conceivable point of interest does not necessarily create a master fiction writer or even a mediocre fiction writer.

So, I stopped reading books on writing and just started reading books I loved: Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Edgar Allen Poe, Harry Potter, Hans Christian Anderson, and so many others.  I happily read a lot of books—good, I thought, know I can start writing. Nope.  Even though I looked at the world through fantasy colored glasses, I had a terrible fear of ineptitude.  I was the student who couldn’t spell, never learned phonics, didn’t know a consonant from a vowel, and a homonym is what? Regardless, I managed to get a Bachelor’s, a Master’s, and even a PhD.  I was a competent mimic.

So, what did Stephen King teach me? Stephen King taught me how to trust my instincts when he wrote, “stories are found things, like fossils in the ground.”  “Stories”, writes King, “are relics, part of an undiscovered pre-existing world.”  Stephen taught me to lean heavily on my intuition, my inner sense of things without the mimicking and sense of ineptitude.

Well, that’s great I thought, because I walk through this world wearing fantasy colored glasses where every nook and cranny is rich with fantastical possibilities—like magical stones, talking trees, whispering air, mumbling water, and things, like humans, who walk the earth.

 

29 thoughts on “What Stephen King Taught Me

  1. frenchc1955 says:

    Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    This is a wonderful post about learning from Stephen King!

    Like

  2. artemisdelmar says:

    Oddly enough I was a tthe book store yesterday and picked this up. I put it down because my daughter lectured me and told me that I had a problem and should finish the 5 books I am reading now. Then I responded, “Well I could have worse habits, like drug use, I just buy too many books.” Needless to say I put the book down but I guess I am going back to buy it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Delia, yes, you must have it! I still read it from time to time and it gives me that same excitement that says, “Stories are like fossils, so be observant of everything around you and then start digging!” K D 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. artemisdelmar says:

        My kids will not be happy with me but I guess I’m going to buy it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Delia, I know that feeling too. I buy too many books and I don’t even have time to read them right now. So, read one of the books you have and then you will be justified to buy another book!! That’s fair, I think. K D 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. artemisdelmar says:

        That’s exactly how I think! They don’t buy into my justification of purchasing more books.

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      4. We do think a like! Kids are so smart, they see through every story, every think that doesn’t meet with there sense of justice or fair play. K Dd 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      5. artemisdelmar says:

        I just buy the books when they’re not around. 🙂

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  3. Bel says:

    Stephen King is the master. When I read his books I don’t do it at night because the descriptions are so vivid I end up having nightmares…it’s amazing and scary at the same time 😱

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    1. Bel, that is so true. I have to read his books during daylight hours. And, even then, I lock all the doors and windows. K D 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. artemisdelmar says:

    Reblogged this on palabras DelMar and commented:
    Let’s Share : K.D. Dowdall
    She states: “I was a competent mimic.”

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  5. Some of his books are terrifying because he knows how to set you right next to the blood dripping ax. I just finished reading two fiction books recommended by him. I was disappointed in both books. They were nothing like Steven King’s books although he had touted them as great thrillers. And although I thought they missed that mark, I haven’t stopped thinking about them. So I guess they did deserve his accolades.

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    1. What are the names of his two books that you read but weren’t as terrifying as some of his other books? I would love to know….so I can read them and not be so terrified. K D 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The books were not by Steven King, but I’d read a recommendation by him for the books. I wanted to read a book that King might like. I was a bit disappointed. Disappearance at Devil’s Rock: by Paul Tremblay and Best Eaten Cold by Tony Salter

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      2. Ohhhh.. the both sound good. What disappointed you? Poor writing, a thin story, poor dialogue or a poor unsatisfying ending?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’m not sure. No the writing was excellent. The plot and characters very well developed and linked. The ending satisfying. But the suspense wasn’t as tight or as page-turning as I expected. I think my disappointment was in my expectations. I was looking for more of a King type book.

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      4. Jean, I understand. Of course, not many people can write like Stephan King! K D 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Jennie says:

    This is wonderful. Read what you heart wants to write, not what you want your fingers to write.

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    1. Jennie, thank you so much for a great comment. Yes, this journey we are on as bloggers, readers, and writers is all about heart or should be. If we don’t write what is in our hearts than we are not being authentic to ourselves and to others. K D 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jennie says:

        Exactly! So glad you liked the comment. 😀

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  7. Reblogged this on Didi Oviatt and commented:
    Excelent post by KD Dowdall!
    Karen, may you never stop reading, learning, and WRITING! Your books are fantastic and your blog is an absolute inspiration 😍 .. sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Didi, Wow…and ditto, I think the very same thing about your fabulous blog and I have learned so much from you! Thank you so much! Karen 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome! 🤗😊

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  8. What a wonderful tribute Karen! I have this on my bookshelf next E.B. White’s Elements of Style. May we always have our fantasy colored glasses!☺️

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    1. Kim, absolutely, we must always wear our fantasy colored glasses! Stephan King’s book, “On Writing” was a turning point for me in my writing. And yes, E. B. White’s Elements of Style is next to my Stephan King’s. By the way, I love your reviews and I have learned more about what is good writing and better writing from reading your reviews. Thank you! Karen 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Reblogged this on By Hook Or By Book and commented:
    This is a beautiful and touching post by K. D. on why On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, by Stephen King is so inspiring!

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  10. I think that this is a great learning outcome from reading a book on writing.

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    1. Hi Robbie, I agree completely. It is a great book for inspiration, self-confidence, and learning! Thank you for commenting. K D 🙂

      Like

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