The first book I read by Stephen King was Stand by Me. I loved it. The second book I read, I started but couldn’t finish. I don’t remember the name, just the toe curling, spine tingling horror of the first chapter. After starting and abandoning several of his books, I gave up on ever reading him again.
But then I picked up On Writing – a Memoir of the Craft. Like all his books, it was very readable. Unlike the others, there was no horror.
A couple things I took away:
- To write you have to read because if you “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
- To write you have to re-write and “Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”
Neither of these lessons were original to King, they were said first by someone else. But this was the first time I read them and they made an impression.
I’ve since taken his advice many times. Especially the latter to kill my darlings. Normally though, I just cut them up and closet them away in my little scribbler’s cupboard, ready for resurrection in another story.
Ha. Maybe I did take away something from those first chapters.
Toronto, Canada. 2019