Posts Tagged ‘Stephen King’

Writing experiment, pattern recognition, and more about why I don’t write for an audience!


Interesting looking flower that grows on a wall surrounding the bar next to the coffee house where my writing group meets.

As some people know while I’m waiting to hear back from my publisher about The Light Side of the Moon, I’ve been doing a series of writing experiments.

I’ve been rereading some of my favorite books from different authors to quantitate how much description, dialogue, action, etc there is, then looking at my own writing in ways I can improve.

It started with reading Stephen King’s The Shining and Dr. Sleep. I like Stephen King’s style. It’s fast and fun. I began thinking why was The Shining scarier. One word: Isolation

Now the way this experiment works is, I read the book for fun, not looking for anything and then go back to analyze what works and what doesn’t.

I also reread in whole or in part

A few weeks ago, one of my friends talked about how if you write for an audience, one gets readers in that audience and eventually can transcend that audience as more people read the book. People who follow my blog know that is not how I write, but I was willing to get more information on the topic. So then I looked at genre tropes.


So this is what I learned:
As a reader, if I don’t have an emotional connection with the characters, the author has failed me.

As an author, if I cannot build an emotional connections with the characters for the reader, I have failed the reader.

On to the quantitative:
I tend to be description light and dialogue heavy, but I’ve my own voice and even though it changed drastically between Other Systems and The Light Side of the Moon, it is MY style of writing. What is really interesting about this experiment is I tend to enjoy books that are description light and dialogue heavy with lots of surprises. Yes, I use either consciously or subconsciously genre tropes. (For example:I glossed over HOW Harden figured out the stabilization issue with FTL travel.)

I don’t care about romantic subplots. I like real romance of a faithful husband and wife team, (or husband/husband team, wife/wife team)  rather than people so lost in lust that they forget their duty to everything else in life or worse the two people are in danger and are so wrapped up in being in lust with the other person, they ignore the danger.  Is this why I have problems writing romantic subplots?

I admit when I nervously think of the fate of The Light Side of the Moon, I have two worries

1) The length. It’s pretty epic at 130,000 words

2) Is the romantic subplot what people like when they read romantic subplots? Especially because it isn’t two people who are wildly in love with each other from the first moment that they meet. Nor do they hate each other.

Now the question becomes: why I write that way? Did reading too much Stephen King as a kid, propel my writing in a specific direction? I don’t have an answer. I only have the data.

Reviews The Shining and Dr. Sleep by Stephen King

What was on my Christmas list this year? Dr. Sleep. And what did Dennis get me?


A hardback volume of three Stephen King Novels and a hardback of Dr. Sleep. I love reading a beautifully bound book with big letters. I’m old fashioned that way I guess. And yes, I do plan on re-reading the other two novels in the volume which if you can’t tell from the photo are Carrie and Salem’s Lot.

Great Christmas Gifts!


Also in book related Christmas Gifts, my parents bought us bookends. We needed bookends, we love that they are little mice sitting on cheese reading books.

But on to the reviews…

My Review of The Shining
Even if you haven’t read the book, most people know the premise.  Jack Torrance, the struggling author and recovering alcoholic, gets a job as the Winter Caretaker of the Overlook Hotel. He and his wife and son go stay there. His son Danny has the shining and the Overlook wants him. The Hotel weaves its way into Jack’s subconscious and he goes crazy.

What I didn’t remember from the first book is what a great job King does a great job letting the reader know that there isn’t something right, but it is eerie and easily explained away. There is another reason that this book works. The Torrences have had some setbacks due to Jack’s temper and drinking, but are looking for away to make it work.

There is time for them to escape before the hotel is strong enough to hurt them, but Wendy and Danny are financially bound to Jack or they must live with Wendy’s emotionally abusive mother. Jack hates his physically abusive drunk father and tells himself that is not how he is. He is not abusive.

Now on to my review of Dr. Sleep.

Okay so now Danny is all a grown up. He is Dan now.

First of all, I really enjoyed the antagonists, because people who follow my reviews (and my writing) know, I love a “justified” villains. (Do not misunderstand me, I am not saying anything they do is good, because these people are evil, I’m saying they have their own moral code and follow it) The True Knot live on the essence of kids with the Shine. They torture and kill kids to get it, they drink it in order to survive. However in the book, they believe they are the humans, all of us are just rubes, kids with the Shine are food.

Secondly, as with the first book, there was so much “real life” horror mixed in with the “supernatural” horror.

Thirdly, while seeing Dan Torrance grown up and how he moves through his life was interesting and Abra Stone was a great counter point. In my opinion, one of the most interesting aspects, since I just read The Shining is also interesting to think about how much the world changed between when Dan was a child and today when Abra Stone is growing up.

Yes Danny Torrence’s family was extremely poor due to his dad’s drinking, while the Stones are upper middle class, but it is more than that.  The world has changed. Child raising has changed. The toys kids play with have changed. King refers to plenty of technology that is here right now since the book is set in the present day. Google Earth for example.

King repeated enough of the story from the first book, that if you haven’t read The Shining, you will understand both characters. However I suggest read (or reread) The Shining. Due to it’s constant feeling of rising dread, I felt it is the better of the two. Maybe I’m a bit jaded, but with so many modern convinces and wealthier parents and just more people rooting for Abra, while she was in greater danger, yes, but she never seemed as she was in much danger.

I am not saying they are both not five-star books, because they are, but they are five-star books in different ways.

Writing Advice that works for me!

I am, Tycho, the might mountain poodle!

I am Tycho the Mighty Mountain Poodle–if you are reading this you are probably human and do not have minions to take care of your every whim as I do, so you must work hard!

I just got home from GeekGirlCon. Going to a convention is always a fun experience and it is interesting how many people want advice about becoming an author. It doesn’t matter that I am an early career author, I have been touched by the novel fairy. That means I’m an expert.

If you want the best writing advice, here is it is:

“Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.” 
– William Faulkner

“Talent in cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.”
-Stephen King

“I know you’ve heard it a thousand times before. But it’s true – hard work pays off. If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, practice. If you don’t love something, then don’t do it.”
-Ray Bradbury

There are no shortcuts, even though many people talk about how there is. It’s about being passionate about a subject and getting to writing. Believing in your project enough to polish it.  Then to bring it to market. That’s it.  Yes, I realize this is a very short blog post, but there is nothing else to say on the subject.

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