Although Stephen King’s first published novel, Carrie, is about telekinetic forces, I reading it as inspiration for a novel I’m writing about spirit possession. You know, trying to learn from spooky uncle Stephen about the ways of horror.
Much of the novel is written in an epistolary format. Using fictional textbooks and interviews to help the storytelling. Few books are able to employ this technique successfully. It’s not a style I enjoy reading, I understand the appeal as a device. As it used in this book, it reveals too much of the ending. By the end of the first act, the reader knows how many people survive “Prom Night.”
Carrie is a pitiable character. Through the abuse at home and school, King creates a character that we care about. We are given a clear enemy in Sue Snell and Chris. We hate them as we hate our own bullies and mean girls from our past.
I’m not here to bash on the book or tell you that it isn’t one of the classics of the Horror genre, I’m discussing the lessons I’ve learned only halfway through.
King is a master of his craft and much can be learned from his strengths as well as his weaknesses.
While my first novel, White Hell, was solidly a thriller, I have always been a voracious reader of King and Koontz since sixth grade. There’s always more to learn. A new lesson in each reading: how they foreshadow or build an antagonist.
I read a lot of fiction as every fiction writer should. But I make time for selected nonfiction. I’m currently reading Atomic Habits by James Clear. Books and podcasts like this help me focus on my goals.
There’s nothing earth shattering in the book, except concision. Clear takes the theories and methods of others and makes them concise with actionable steps. I highly recommend the book for anyone trying to make small changes.
“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” James Clear.
Rather setting a goal, you are encouraged to create specific systems to reach the goal. If your goal is to write a book, you must create specific, actionable daily habits. For example, everyday I will wake up at 5 am and write five pages at my office computer.
In all practicality, I struggle to take my medicine each day and brush my teeth before bed. Using the methods at the beginning of the book, so far I’ve taken all my pills and brushed my teeth multiple days in a row. What else could I accomplish this way?
“If our memories make us who we are, who is a man without any? Nameless has only a gun, missions from a shadowy agency, and one dead aim: dispense justice when the law fails. As he moves from town to town, driven by splintered visions of the past and future, he’s headed toward the ultimate confrontation in this propulsive series of short thrillers.” From Dean Koontz’s website.
This collection is exclusively found on Amazon Kindle the best platform for shorter fiction since the demise of the Saturday Evening Post.
I’ve read most of them and consider their short length refreshing. While I’ve been focused on my own writing as well as a change in career direction, I haven’t had the brain-power to devote to a longer piece of fiction.