If you fall down the right wiki-hole in the tinfoil hat-wearing corners of the internet, you’ll learn that “it was aliens” is a rational origin for much of modern technology. Whether it came as gifts from our interstellar allies or was reverse-engineered from crashed saucers, no one at Area 51 is returning my calls to confirm.
But in a big way, reading another author’s work is the same as discovering a UFO from another galaxy and digging out its secrets.
Some philosophers say each person is a world, so it would follow that each message they send out is a vessel from that world. So how do we as writers who want to upgrade our own abilities brush away the dirt and damp forest leaves, find a seam for our crowbars, and pry open a panel of alien metal to reach the glowing sprockets and humming diodes inside?Continue reading
Seeing the latest draft of your writing covered in an editor’s graffiti can be a test of your humility. Working your way through their changes, addressing their concerns, and resolving their comments—on a draft you spent hard hours creating—can be an exercise in emotional detachment.
Your editors will be professional and constructive, but hitting “approve” on those little recommendation boxes is literally accepting criticism, so there’s no room for ego.
Your motivation has become stagnant, the words on your unfinished manuscript stare back from the page with dumb accusation, the last thing you want to do is open your computer, and deadlines are elbowing up to you like inconsiderate riders in a crowded subway car.
You want to scream, rethink your profession, maybe change your name and open a Cinnabon in Omaha. Or maybe your situation is less dramatic, and you just want to level up your writing game, or tackle a daily writing practice or a project larger than you’ve ever worked on before.
Wherever you fall in this range, it’s probably time to find a writing coach.Continue reading
My senior year of high school, I left my English teacher’s Christmas Party with Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot in my hands and an exciting new strain of the flu setting up shop somewhere in my respiratory system.
As a game (and our winter break reading assignment), we each wrote the title of our favorite book on a scrap of paper and placed it in a bowl, and then we passed the bowl around. It was literary roulette. And now, thanks to a sick classmate, I was about to spend my winter break reading.
Throughout that feverish Christmas holiday, I walked my first lap in the multiverse that would eventually introduce me to thinnies, low men, twinners, ka and ka-tet, and the Twelve Guardians of the Beams—in other words, the wonky fantasy lexicon that has contributed to some readers calling King a master of literature, and others a peddler of low art.
King is a divisive author. Some hang on his every word, while others fall in league with a more critical crowd. “If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days in polite society are numbered,” King wrote in On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.