Saturday, October 31, 2015

He can't act. He can't sing. He can dance a little.

Did you read my title? Well, that was what a studio head said about Fred Astaire before rejecting him. Ha! I just read that fact in an essential book for aspiring writers. What is it called? The Essential Guide for Getting Your Book Published. It's so helpful that I put a permanent link for it in my side bar. Rejection. Boy, that topic was covered over and over again throughout the eight writing guide books (and counting) I've read for my part time job. I love my part time job. It's reading! 

Guess whose debut manuscript was rejected 30 times and yet went on to become a best seller. But not only that, it launched a mildly tepid writing career. Well, I just requested a copy of this author's take on a guide book from the library. It's called On Writing: a memoir of the craft. It turns out, this guy knew a thing or two about writing. I can't wait to read it. You know, Stephen King's guide to writing. Of course, I was kidding about his tepid career. Boiling hot is a more simmering word choice. Here's a fun link of rejections that will shock and amaze. 

Stephen King is the perfect muse for this Halloween post. Did you know that he couldn't even afford a type writer when he was starting out. He may have married his wife for one. Or so the story goes. And not only that, do you know what he purchased for his wife to celebrate his first literary windfall? No, not a typewriter. A hairdryer. The horror! It was all he could find on a Sunday when all of the businesses were closed in Bangor, Maine. But don't take my word for it. Here's a link for the low down on Stephen King before he was the master of horror. King was getting his feet wet in the nudie mag market. He was more like the  apprentice of smut! Visit Mental_Floss for the rest of the story.

I started my horror research with Carrie and The Shining for my part time job recently. My book The Chorus of the Crows has an element of fear. A smidgen of scary. So I wanted to learn from the best. I didn't love Carrie. But I'm glad I read it. The Shining, however, was illuminating. In fact, I just had a nightmare or basically a succession of nightmares last week related to the book. Literary success in the horror genre! Nightmares. The only part of my dream I can remember was the Redrum part. It's always Redrum, right? I was in what appeared to be my childhood bedroom. And I instinctively knew it was demons. My eyes were focused on the ceiling and the small opening to the attic above my bed. There was something there. I just knew it. Basically, I was scared shit-less. My husband came sauntering in and nonchalantly spit out the word Redrum. As a joke. I told him not to utter that word. But it was too late. Eventually, after a nerve rattling silence, a child's demonic voice eerily choked out...  rrr...eee...ddd rrrr...uuu...mmm. The I woke up!

My absolute favorite part of The Shining, other than the great character Halloran,was when Jack drank his martians. I'll never order a martini without thinking of the book again. Let's all raise a glass this Halloween to Stephen King...

"Makes you, for a little while, a child again" Stephen King on the creative use of fear.

Happy Halloween!


DJan said...

I recently finished reading King's book on writing and enjoyed it immensely. Now I am reading "Bird by Bird" by Ann Lamott. I put "The Shining" down years ago because it was so scary! :-)

Karl Jorgenson said...

King's book 'On Writing' is wonderfully insightful. Also 'Elmore Leonard's Ten Rules of Writing'. Many commonalities between them. When asked why his crime thrillers were shorter than others in the genre, he supposedly said, "Because I leave out the parts readers skip".

Mama Zen said...

You'll love On Writing. Definitely a must read.

Marie C said...

I love Halloween, but am frankly always a little happy when it's over. Just too much real "horror" abounds for several days, and it's more than I can take! :-) I get nightmares when exposed to too much so it was interesting reading about yours! In your book a little scary would be good. A little. :-)