Posts Tagged ‘stephen king’

I don’t usually read really long books. But there are a few authors whose longer books are so intense, and I get into them so deeply, that I never want them to end. One of those authors is Stephen King. He’s a master at character development and story telling. I was just listening to his long “author’s note” at the beginning of his short story collection, “The Bazaar of Bad Dreams”, where he talks about the difference between long novels and short stories. He called a novel an “immersive experience”. That’s exactly what it is. I’ve been trying to figure out what to call how I feel when reading his longer work, and that’s it. There are VERY few authors who give me an immersive experience. That’s why I usually read shorter novels and novellas. Yes, I’m entertained. But I’m not immersed. King said when you’re immersed like that, it’s not like having an affair, it’s like being married. You never want the book to end. In most books, I can’t wait until I’m done so I can start on the next one, then the next one, etc. But with King and a few others, I want it to go on and on.

He also said short stories were hard to write. He said it takes a lot of work to write something that short and make it work. I find that to be SO true. Most short stories leave me unsatisfied. It’s like they come to an abrupt end, and I’m like “what just happened?”. King is as good at short stories as he is with those LONG novels. I’ve written a couple of short stories, and I’ve always tried to make sure they have a satisfying ending. That’s what I want from a short story.

Another thing he said was that he was still learning his craft. The KING of horror said he’s still learning. That should give all authors the determination to keep learning, keep perfecting, keep writing.

Honestly, I don’t think I have the talent to ever write a story like Stephen King does. But I want to strive for that. This is the biggest reason I want to quit my day job…so I can spend time working on my craft. It takes time. It takes dedication. It even takes courage, I think.

So I’ve been thinking about my genre lately. I have a sequel to Soul of a Vampire coming out in 2016, which is paranormal romance. Most of my paranormal romances are pretty dark, so I lean a little toward horror in those. I have a possible science fiction romance I want to write. But I’m wondering if I ought to do some more horror. The Gnome and Hearts of Evil were really fun to write. The Gnome was most definitely horror, and I would categorize Hearts of Evil as at least light horror. Horror has always been my first love in my reading genre. Something to think about.

What about you? What author gives you an immersive experience? If you’re an author, what author would you strive to be most like? Do you like to read long or short works? What’s your favorite genre?


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Stephen King is the MASTER of character development. I have never read anyone who does this as well. In his book “11/22/63”, he did an amazing job with this, so much so that I felt like I was right there with the main character the whole time. And it was a long book, as most of King’s are. Another thing he does well is develop multiple characters with multiple POVs in his books. In Under the Dome and Needful Things (among others), he does a great job in switching the points of view from one character to the next, so that we get into the minds of all of them.

Okay, so here’s why I’m saying all that. My current WIP has a major backstory that needs to be told. Most of you know this because of other posts I’ve written. I’ve looked at several ways to tell the backstory, but there are two that I’m trying to decide between. 1) Doing a prologue about how the whole thing came about without telling the WHOLE story right away (because the reader doesn’t need to know EVERYTHING at first), or 2) writing the POVs of several of the characters to gradually tell the story. I’ve already done a scene where several of the townsfolk (the founders) get together and talk about a situation outside of the two main characters’ views. But there was no inner dialogue in this scene. Then, the other day, a scene from one of those character’s POV hit me and I had to write it. I haven’t yet inserted it into the manuscript, but I’m going to.

So here’s what I’m thinking. I MIGHT go ahead with a short prologue that gives a general gist of what happened ten years ago that got the ball rolling without giving too much away. Maybe use it as a teaser to the reader. Then, I can write scenes from the POVs of the characters involved, basically the antagonists, to slowly reveal the rest of the story. Stephen King writes multiple POVs seamlessly. But can I? I don’t know.

My questions to you. Have you ever written a book that had multiple POVs? If so, do you think it was effective? Were you happy with it? Did you find it difficult? Any advice?

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I’ve been a fan of horror ever since my high school librarian first introduced me to Stephen King. She suggested I read “Carrie”, and I’ve been a fan ever since. Stephen King is the master. The KING. No one has ever been able to touch me quite like he has. He has a way of making you feel like you’re right there in the story and that you know all the characters intimately. King’s characters are his strongest point.

But then there’s the horror. The scary stuff, the stuff that gives you the chills. What is it that makes us want to read this? Why do we want to be scared? I’ve found, the older I get, the harder it is for me to watch scary movies, especially alone. But I LOVE reading the books. The horror fascinates me. I’m not as crazy about the slasher stuff, even though that’s sometimes part of it. It’s the supernatural, eerie, ghostly stuff I love. Or sometimes the horror isn’t supernatural, but the horror of the human psyche. There are some sick people in some of the horror books.

I’ve sometimes wondered if there was something wrong with me because I like horror. Is there something twisted in my mind? And what about the people who actually WRITE this stuff? They have to be kind of twisted, right? But, honestly, the horror writers I’ve met on the internet have been normal, well-adjusted husbands and dads or wives and mothers. Horror writers are usually just ordinary folks. So I may never know the WHY of it all. Maybe someone can give me some ideas of why we like horror.

That brings me to my writing. The first novel I ever wrote and published, A Rocky Path, was a ghost story/love story. I don’t know why I was compelled to write paranormal romance. My second novel, Starfane, was a fantasy romance with wizards, elves, etc. in a land the heroine stepped into from a mural. I then did three novellas, one ghost story and two vampire stories. But even in paranormal romance, there is an element of horror sometimes. My ghost story novella, See Me, was criticized by a fellow author because I had mixed humor and violence in the same story. See Me is kind of snarky, with some funny things that happen, but there is a pretty violent scene in it. I don’t see anything wrong with mixing humor and violence. Even in this story, I had a tiny bit of horror. Then along came The Gnome. It was my first attempt at an actual horror story. I wasn’t sure how I would do with the fight scenes, but one of my beta readers said I nailed it, so that was a relief. Two readers told me that the story creeped them out and one of them actually dreamed of a giggling gnome. Good. That means I did my job. The story stayed with them.

So, after saying all that, I’m wondering if I’m going to end up writing horror instead of paranormal romance. My last book, Soul of a Vampire, actually was paranormal romance, but there was a little element of horror, I think. And, now, my current WIP is looking like it’s going to be horror. This one, honestly, was supposed to be a paranormal romance about a ghost. Now the ghost is kind of secondary in the story, and there’s a truly horrible thing happening in the town. This story just took a different turn than I originally imagined. There is going to be a supernatural element to the horror. So I’m wondering if my whole genre is going to change. Or am I going to dabble in more than one genre? Am I really going to end up being a horror writer? Or are The Gnome and my current WIP just me veering off my normal path for awhile? And do I have to really know the answer right now? Or can I just enjoy the journey and see where everything goes? That’s part of the fun, right?

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I’ve been very nervous about every aspect of this book. So the cover is no exception. But I think it’s time to let people see the cover of my current WIP, which will also finally give my title away. This is the first time I’ve ever had the title before starting the story. In fact, it was the title popping into my mind that actually started this story. So, without further ado, here is the fabulous Jimmy Thomas, cover model extraordinaire with “the bottle”. And you have to read the book to understand that part. LOL

Also, on another note, the lovely and sweet Emma Meade nominated me for three blog awards. 🙂 I’m also supposed to tell seven things about myself. I’m going to break the chain (sorry) and not nominate seven more people because I don’t want to miss anyone I should tag. Anyway, here are the awards.

And here are seven things about me:

1. My favorite author is Stephen King.
2. My favorite movie is Half Light.
3. I love roller coasters.
4. I’m a coffee snob…I love the good stuff.
5. I have a very strong southern accent.
6. Hubby and I are about to celebrate our 30th anniversary.
7. And here’s the embarrassing story. One time my husband and I were in a restaurant with another couple. I was wearing a black skirt, black leggings, and black boots. The two men got up and went on out to the car, and my friend and I got up to start on out a couple of minutes later. I realized that for some reason, I couldn’t walk. I looked down, and there was my very white slip down around my ankles. My friend and I burst out laughing, and I reached down and pulled my slip out from around my ankles and put it in my purse. My friend and I were laughing so hard, we could barely walk, and it took us forever to tell the guys what had happened.

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I just listened to the last few words of 11/22/63 as I pulled into the driveway at work after lunch. Of course, you are all reading this the next day since I’ve already posted something today and don’t want to do two posts. Anyway, I feel like I just got off an emotional roller coaster ride. I was crying as I listened to the end of this audio book.

This whole time travel thing starts out with a dying friend of Jake Epping asking him to go back in time “through the rabbit hole” to stop the assassination of JFK because the friend was now too sick to do it. I won’t explain all the particulars about it because, to me, they’re spoilers. You have to learn everything little by little when reading the book. So I think this is going to be more about how the book made me feel than about the book itself. I hate spoilers. Through this whole book, I felt closer and closer to Jake as I experienced with him so many things. He actually did more than just try to stop the Kennedy assassination. He changed some other things, too. His intentions were always good, but he had to do some unethical things for the greater good. I never blamed him. I wanted so much for everything to work out for the better, but there’s that little thing many call the “butterfly effect”. So many things happen in this book, some good, some bad. I couldn’t help empathizing with almost all the characters. And in typical Stephen King style, the characters were amazing. This book is SO character driven.

About the ending. I won’t tell you what happens, but it might be a little spoilery, so read on at your own risk. I write romances. I read a lot of them. I WANT an HEA. I NEED an HEA. I don’t know why I expected one in this book. It’s not a romance, so anything goes. I wasn’t happy with the way it ended, but it kind of ended the way it had to. Jake had to decide whether or not to be selfish. I realized what he was going to do before he did it, and I was like “No!”. There is actually a sort of almost HEA. I thought there wasn’t going to be, but King saved it. It wasn’t what I wanted, but it eased the pain a little. I still cried. And the ending line was perfect for what happened.

So now, I’m emotionally exhausted. I don’t know what to do with myself because the book is over. I’ll get in my car, and it won’t be there for me to listen to. I didn’t want it to ever end. I felt like I was in the story with Jake and Sadie, and all the rest. I’m sitting here at my desk trying not to cry. Stephen King is the MASTER. No one tells a story like King. I know not everyone will agree, but I can’t think of anyone who writes characters like this man does. This is definitely one of my favorite books of all time. I want to go to sleep now. I’m so tired….

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Is there any doubt this man is a wonderful storyteller? I’m on disk 10 of a 25 disk set, and I’m going to have to recheck it out because there’s no way I can listen to something this long in three weeks just driving in my car. I find myself itching to hurry and get into my car at the end of the day so I can listen. Same thing in the mornings. This is one time I’m glad it takes me about 25 minutes to get to work!

When I first heard about this book, I thought “Okay, he’s going to try to stop Kennedy from getting shot. Interesting, I guess.” But I should have known this book was about so much more. The main character actually does more than that. I don’t know if the attempt to save Kennedy will be at the very end or if it will be sooner. Of course, I don’t know yet if he’s successful. But this book is not just about that. It’s about PEOPLE, just like Stephen King’s books always are. No matter how much STUFF happens in King’s books, they are always character driven in my opinion. You always get down into the heart and soul of King’s main characters. In this particular book, the MC goes through things that change him, but he does things he has to do. He’s a stronger man than he thought he could be. I LOVE this character, Jake Epping. I want so much for him to succeed because he goes through so much to get there. I don’t want to do any spoilers, so I can’t say too much more. I can say there’s kind of a butterfly effect going on in the book. VERY interesting.

One thing that I find amusing is how King can get by with things that everyone always tells authors NOT to do. I think the biggest thing is this. We are always told not to write anything that doesn’t “further the plot”. And yet, King does it all the time. And he makes it INTERESTING. He can throw things in a story that doesn’t really have to be there, but he puts it in there because he wants to. He can write about what people are eating and how good it tastes, but I get my hands smacked for it. Personally, when I read a book, I like to hear little side things that don’t necessarily matter to the plot but are interesting. So when Stephen King does it, I love it. And he gets by with it and people love him anyway. Because no matter what rules he might break (and I think he’s earned the right to break them by now), he’s still a great storyteller. And that’s what it all boils down to. Can you tell a good story? Do people want to hurry up and finish what they’re doing so they can get back to your book? That’s what it’s all about. That’s what it means to be a writer.

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I was at the library today at lunch, looking for an audio book. I HAVE to have audio books to listen to in the car or I go crazy. Driving is boring! I went to the new release shelf and guess what I found? (I know you know because of the post title, LOL.) Stephen King’s 11/22/63! It was just sitting there on the shelf. It wasn’t checked out; it was there for ME all shiny and new looking. What incredible luck! I’m a happy little camper right now. Because it’s STEPHEN KING! *does the happy dance*

Ok, I’m all calmed down now. I didn’t check in for ROW80 yesterday. Bad me. I intend to get back on track checking in and visiting other blogs. I’m just feeling a little overwhelmed right now.

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My friend, Anya, tells me she never reads a book more than once. When she’s read it, she’s done. That got me thinking about what books I’ve felt like were so good that I’ve read them more than once. Here’s my short list:

IT by Stephen King
The Touch by F. Paul Wilson
The Doomsday Conspiracy by Sidney Sheldon
A Gift of Violets by Janette Radcliffe

I’ve read several books twice, but the list above is comprised of books I’ve read at least 4 or 5 times. The oddest thing about those four books is they are all different genres. IT is horror. The Touch is, I guess, a supernatural thriller. The Doomsday Conspiracy is SciFi/Adventure. A Gift of Violets is a historical romance. See, I’ve said many times that I’m an eclectic reader. 🙂

What books have you read more than once? I would love to know!

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I just got an email that said Stephen King’s novel, 11/22/63 will be released on Nov. 8, so I guess you can pre-order. There was a link to the Amazon page. The “enhanced” ebook is $18.99. The hard cover edition is on sale for $18.42 (reg. $35.00). This is just wrong. And people wonder why some authors want to be indie?

The first ebook I ever loaded on my Kindle on Christmas day was Stephen King’s “Under the Dome”. It was $9.99. I thought that was a lot for a book that didn’t have any paper, ink, or other “physical” costs. But, hey, it was Stephen King, right? I’ve never paid that much for an ebook since. When I saw this email today, I was shocked. $18.99 for an ebook? Why wouldn’t I just buy the hard cover? It makes me think that might be the whole point. Trying to sell the hard cover edition instead of the ebook. I have no idea.

I wonder if I’ll get any hate mail because of this post. LOL.

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the genre I write it, which is paranormal romance. I’ve written 2 novellas, one about a vampire and one about a ghost. I’ve written two novels, one about an elf and a wizard, and one about a ghost. I’m currently working on another novella about a vampire. And I do really like paranormal romance. But it’s not my first love. Since I discovered Stephen King in high school, I’ve been a fan of horror. That’s my favorite genre. Mysteries and paranormal romance compete for my second favorite.

So why didn’t I start out writing horror? Mostly because I had this love story about a ghost in my head. And it went from there. But I’ve been questioning myself a lot lately about whether or not I want to continue to write solely in this genre. I don’t want to abandon it altogether. But I want to spread my wings a little.

Another consideration. If I do pursue horror as a writing subject, should I write under a separate pen name? My gut feeling is yes. I don’t want to confuse readers when they’re used to me writing under a certain genre. And I’ve developed relationships with other authors in the paranormal romance genre. And another thing I’ve thought about. No matter how much we want to deny it, this is still a man’s world. It’s getting better, but we aren’t there yet. So would it be better to write under a pen name with just initials so no one would know my gender? Female horror writers aren’t very common and probably not very well accepted. Just some thoughts. What do you think?

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