Thursday, June 21, 2007

"On Writing" and thoughts on the 'ideal' reader

I just recently finished reading Stephen King's "On Writing." Of all the books on the writing process I have read, I found this one the most straightforward and direct. I admire King's brutal honesty and his no-nonsense, take no prisoners approach to writing.

I particularly liked his approach to the discipline of writing--write every day (his goal is 2,000 words), without fail. No secret other than get the backside in the chair and the hands on the keyboard/pencil/pen/etc. I also liked his approach to 'writing with the door closed' (i.e., keep your first drafts private) versus 'writing with the door open' (share your revised work with trusted readers.) I am often guilty of sharing first draft work and although I don't think that has derailed any of my projects, perhaps it does constrain the free-ranging process of the imagination.

Alas, it was too late to apply this advice to my latest project. I had my hubby read the first 30K of "Heal Thyself" mainly because he's my best sounding board and I need him to know the story well enough to help me brainstorm some plot issues.

He hasn't finished reading yet, but he did share one initial impression: the story felt 'thin' to him. He liked the concept, the characters, the world building. And he wants to read on to find out what happens, *but* he doesn't feel like he can't put it down.

Hubby is my 'ideal reader'. The one who I imagine reading the story as I write it. If I can please him, than I know I've done a good job. So, something is missing. Some essential element of the story that turns a decent story into a compelling one.

Now all I have to do is figure out what that *something* is.


Should I have waited until the first draft was complete before sharing it? Maybe. Is the 'thinness' because it *is* a first draft? Maybe. But my subconscious has been nagging me about this story, so maybe hubby's put his finger on an essential problem I have to fix.

1 comment:

  1. I've always liked Stephen King, but I admire him even more after reading "On Writing" - a beautiful book that goes straight to your writer's heart and uplifts it...