The above is a paraphrased quote from Stephen King's On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. This is a book which he wrote and tells the reader, very conversationally, a bit about how he got started with his writing, and how to write better.
It is quite simply one of the best books I have ever read on this subject. You know what? It IS the best.
I first read it several years ago, and just finished re-reading it now.
He says some of the best advice he got from someone else was that you have to be prepared to murder your darlings. Your darlings are your words, maybe words that you are especially proud of, but if they don't progress the story, or are redundant or padding, you need to get rid of them.
It's interesting, and he's right.
I am sitting at my new work space in the new house. Once again I have my old kitchen table that is motherfuck big, huge enough for me to have lots of piles of crap on it and still plenty of space to work. It faces a stretch of bay windows - four of them, count them, 1, 2, 3, 4 - and I can see an enormous house across the street and rose bushes and greenery along our front fence. The light is wonderful.
To my left are two bookcases filled with books.
Then to each side of the bookcase are stacks of other books that won't fit.
On the left, yes, evidence of my Stephen King collection. For a couple of decades, these books (along with my Jackie Collins, Agatha Christies, Sidney Sheldons, Robert Ludlums and Dick Francises etc) have been hidden away in boxes in whatever garage I've had my "extra shit" in.
I am now out and proud. I read these books voraciously when I was younger. Couldn't get enough of them, but balanced them out with deeper, more literary readings. I don't read a lot of genre but these good folks represent the genre I did read: horror (only good horror, ie Stephen King, but also dabbled in a bit of Anne Rice and a writer called Dennis Wheatley. I'd be interested to hear if anyone has heard/read him. The first book I read of his was called The Satanist and my bro and I loved it.
My dad put me onto Ludlum and Dick Francis. Excellent story writers, I enjoyed them so much.
The other day I popped into the BookGrocer in High St, Northcote. We pass this place weekly/fortnightly, but always with the car full of child and on the way to dinner in the north. I had my opportunity to stop and bought the following:
So much excitement and joy. Have to finish what I'm reading now before I delve.
Books I am in the middle of:
The Lovely Bones
The Hand that Signed the Paper*
John Irving's new one, something about Twisted River. He's on Radio National tomorrow by the way, with Ramona Koval at 10am and repeated at 8pm. One of the my favourite authors, and if I had to name one who I have adored the most, 'twould be him.
I'll show you my other bookcase next time.
* I have read this and am re-reading after just having finished The Demidenko Files - which is a fascinating and comprehensive collection of all news articles and some radio time on the Demidenko/Milesa Franklin/anti-semitism scandal.