K is for… King – On Writing (Book)
If I recall correctly I think this book was one of the first I bought about writing (it didn’t stop there!). I think it must have been around the time that I started studying creative writing with the Open University (or ‘taking it seriously’).
Anyhoo the book goes like this:
Two humorously contrasting quotes
Followed by three forwards
C.V (The memoir/autobiography bit)
A couple of pages called What Writing Is …Telepathy
Toolbox (On vocabulary, grammar, style,
On Writing (the bit about writing)
On Living: A Postscript (About his accident and recovery)
Furthermore, Part 1: Door Shut, Door Open (an insight into editing)
Furthermore, Part 2: A Booklist (Stephen’s Goodreads bookshelf ;o) – including the first three Harry Potters [this was published in 2000]
Finally it ends with the winning entry of a short story competition – Jumper by Garrett Addams.
What writing is – Telepathy. This relates back to the discussion on the I post of writers seemingly getting into our heads.
Stephen King’s Prime Rule is Write a Lot and Read a Lot – I’m trying – have been succeeding more with the latter than the former at the moment but it’s all food and nourishment.
Now it is a long time since I read this book but I remember it being good. I need to read it again, I want to after skimming for the purposes of writing this. It isn’t laid out like a how to guide (according to the man himself p.xiii – ‘most books about writing are filled with bullshit.’), there is no index to help you find the section on writing dialogue or which tense to use. It is, as the subtitle says ‘A memoir on the craft.’ It reads like a story, it engages for the full duration then – that is what I hope to do with my thesis.
After his accident Stephen didn’t want to go back to work – he thought it would be too painful. His wife helped him. He ends the postscript section with this quote (p327) –
‘Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So Drink.
Drink and be filled up.’
Stephen suggests that why most books on writing are bullshit is because most writers don’t understand what they do – do you agree?
K is for… Kingdom Hospital
Odd how both of my K posts today are Stephen King related – I didn’t plan it that way. In fact they are very related because I believe that the opening accident scene of Kingdom Hospital is based on King’s personal experience as discussed in On Writing (the book I am reviewing in my other K post today).
As a Stephen King fan I had to watch this series when it was released (2004 according to imdb). It is set in a hospital in, where else but Maine. The hospital was built on the scene of a fire where lots of children died so lots of spooky Poltergeisty type things happen. Peter ends up in the hospital after a hit and run accident, whilst he is unable to communicate with anyone he starts seeing a ghost girl called Mary and spends the series (13 episodes) trying to help her.
This isn’t one I can pick out top episodes because it is a continuous story really. It had a similar feel to American Gothic (who got the briefest of mentions in my A post). I believe the series has had mixed reviews but I enjoyed it for what it was.
Recently one of my good friends Cath stayed with me and she was talking about a Channel 4 comedy series from 2004 called Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace. She described it as a mockumentary about the writer of horror books and the ‘80s’ TV show Darkplace where they show the series interspersed with interviews’ with the actors. A quick search and we found it on 4 on demand and proceeded to watch the first episode in all its deliberately shoddy acting glory.
When watching Darkplace I was immediately reminded of Kingdom Hospital – Darkplace is a hospital after all – and I wondered if it was a spoof of that and Mr King himself. A bit of searching showed that this was released before KH and that they were both based on Lars Von Triers The Kingdom (which I haven’t seen). I’m still not sure that Mr King isn’t implicated here though.
Anyway if you like your comedy very surreal then GMD is a must see and it is immensely quotable – it was penned by two of its stars Richard Ayoade (Moss from the I.T. Crowd fame) and Matthew Holness (Garth Marenghi himself).
‘I’m Garth Marenghi. Author. Dreamweaver. Visionary. Plus actor. You’re about to enter the world of my imagination. You are entering my Darkplace.’ (Opening lines)
And my favourite – which I need to get into my PhD thesis somehow (from episode 2 – Hell Hath No Fury)
‘As a writer if you took away my paper I would write on my heart
If you took away my ink I would write on the wind
It wouldn’t be an ideal way to work.’
Thanks for the intro Cath – just finally watching the last two episodes as I’m writing this post.
Do you like seeing the same story retold in different versions?
If you are a fan of GMD share with us your top quote/scene/episode.