K is for King

I was spoilt for choice when I was looking for an author for K, but, in the end, there was no contest, as my aim with the challenge was to highlight authors, I, as an aspiring author myself, could learn from. So please raise your glass, or coffee cup to….

Stephen Edwin King was born in 1947 in Maine and has published over 50 novels, 5 non fiction books and over 200 short stories…so far 😉 His books have sold more than 350 million copies.

He says that his inspiration for writing horror came from his uncle and finding a copy of The Lurker In The Shadows in his attic, but people have also speculated that the experience of whitnessing his friend killed by a train is what influenced the darkness in his work.

He spent his teens reading horror comics and his first story (serialized over 3 editions) was published in 1965 in a fanzine but it wasn’t until he was at University that he started writing short stories with the intent to sell them.

King published his first novel, Carrie, at the age of 26, but had initially thrown the first draft in the bin. Luckily, his wife retrieved it and encouraged him to finish it. And just like Dickens, 100 years earlier, it was to set him on a path of world wide success.

King has written extensively on “writing” and is eager to encourage aspiring authors. He sets himself a goal of writing 2000 words a day and doesn’t stop until he achieves that and considers “the finest word processor” to be a fountain pen and a notebook.

He often uses authors as characters, or mentions works of fiction in his stories, and sites his biggest influence as the author Richard Matheson. Love him or hate him, Stephen King is an icon amongst authors.

Again, I was spoilt for choice on Stephen King quotes, (thanks to his book On Writing) so heres a small selection I like:

“Read and write four to six hours a day. If you cannot find the time for that, you can’t expect to become a good writer.”

“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”

“Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.”

“So okay – there you are in your room with the shade down and the door shut and the plug pulled out of the base of the telephone. You’ve blown up your TV and committed yourself to a thousand words a day, come hell or high water. Now comes the big question: What are you going to write about? And the equally big answer: Anything you damn well want.”

“Reading in bed can be heaven, assuming you can get just the right amount of light on the page and aren’t prone to spilling your coffee or cognac on the sheets.”

“I’m a slow reader, but I usually get through seventy or eighty books a year, most fiction. I don’t read in order to study the craft; I read because I like to read.”

“If you’re not reading, then you’re not going to be a writer. Read things you don’t normally read. Read things you don’t want to read. Be open minded enough to look at work others don’t respect. Have you ever read a romance novel? Read one. Never read a horror story? Pick one up and read it. A western? Give it a shot.”

I was also spoilt for choice on YouTube for interviews and talks by King, but I chose this one, where he goes into a school and talks to kids about writing 🙂 Boy, what I’d give to do a class with him!!!!!

It did make me laugh to hear that he is a slow reader, but still manages to read 70-80 books a year! OMG, is that really a slow reader? I used to read a book a week, now, im lucky if I can finish one every 3 weeks to a month 😦

Going by Kings scale…..are you a slow or quick reader? How many books do you read a year?