Plotting a Novel

Posted by Backyard Urban Gardening on Monday, October 01, 2007

"Plot is, I think, the good writer's last resort and the dullard's first choice."

Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

I am a late arrival to Stephen King's books. I think he gets a bad rap sometimes. I never really had a desire to read any of King's novels when I was younger because I had a preconceived perception that he only wrote graphic horror novels.

Right now I am reading Blaze and earlier this year I read Cell and Misery. All of them are very good, but I notice a very different writing style compared to some of my other favorites like Tess Gerritsen, Lisa Scottoline and Michael Connelly.

My efforts to write fiction are often criticized for providing too many details. Astounding character details and in depth description of setting are King's strengths. If you believe what you read on certain writing "guru" websites and forums, you would wonder how the man ever had even one best seller -- let alone fifty. In his memoir, King explains that he prefers to focus on the characters and let the plot take care of itself. I realize we can't all be Stephen King, but I think the man makes a point. He prefers to put the characters in a situation and let them work their way out of it.

Would you rather write predictable, cookie-cutter novels, or would you prefer one-of-a-kind storylines set in unpredictable surroundings and presented with unforeseen circumstances?


Al Romero said...

Sorry for arriving a bit late to your post :) I just wanted to express that I agree with Stephen King's way of telling things in his novels... Although I´m more involved in technical writing, I´ve always had interest in novels; I think there are too many formalities and prerequisites for a "well-written" novel that, in many cases, can spoil an author's creativity.

Congratulations for your blog, I hope you finish Riley and Tim´s story soon, to look for it on the bookshelves...

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