Well all good things come to an end I suppose. Here I am at the end of On Writing and I've learned so much. The thing is, I never felt like I was in a classroom of the mind taking notes. Instead I learned about a man who learned to write from books, then wrote a book about it. Mr King has taught me telepathy, what to put in my toolbox, and finally archaeology.
Telepathy. It seemes like such a strange concept but it couldn't be simpler. Authors use books to practice telepathy en masse. They construct vivid worlds for us to see in our minds and characters we can imagine walking down the street on any given day. King for a large part of his life was the end of the telepathy link with books like Combat Casey and others teaching him about the mental link between writer and reader. It was this that pushed him to become a part of the creating aspect of telepathy, or the sending aspect, telepathically sending images to readers everywhere.
Next we come to the toolbox, every writer's trusty set of devices to unearth a story. Here we see the dislike of passive voice by King. Oh my God. I just made a literary joke. Folks, I'm sorry, it'll never happen again, I swear. Moving on from that abyssmal moment in my life, King stresses the importance of grammar and literature and yet makes a point to make sure that it is our own. Add this to the intracacies of character development, what with characters acting of their own accord and it gives the idea of books coming to life a whole new meaning. Reading books by authors like Bradbury and Faulkner were obviously influential to this line of thinking, by reading so many books and seeing so many different forms of syntax and grammar, not to mention so many different types of characters, King realized that there was no set way to write, just that writers wrote best when they wrote like themselves and not someone else. But at the same time, King admits to trying to write like Bradbury and others in his youth. I suppose to find your style, you have to try someone else's and see how it fits. Food for thought.
And the final lesson King and On Writing teaches us is... not one I expected to learn. Ever. The lesson of archaeology. See the story is there and it's our job to dig it up, making sure it's as whole and undamaged as possible. That's what our toolbox is for you see? And the development of the characters, the description of the setting, simile, alliteration, metaphor, all these thing contribute to what exactly your fossil looks like when you're done. So Shakespeare, Thoreau, Whitman, Dickinson, and Austen weren't just great writers, They were crack archaeologistsas well. And reading all of these authors set King on the path to becoming a writ- ahem excuse me, an archaeologist himself.
So let's put this whole confusing, flummoxing, and just plain weird thing in perspective. Coming up with an idea for a book is finding a fossil that's been there waiting for someone to discover it. Writing the book is the writer using the tools in their toolbox to bring out the story (taking care not to damage it). And then by reading this book, the author telepathically sends the image of the fossil the found to us. All clear? If you say yes, then you've got a better handle on this writing thing than I do but hey, you might be the next Stephen King.