Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Writing Rhetoric.. (What it's all about?)




So.. I've been reading Stephen King's "On Writing" again, and I came to an interesting passage today. Right at the very end of his actual 'writing' section, before he start talking about rewrites and editing, he says something that's fairly profound.

I'll paraphrase since my book is downstairs and I'm too lazy to go get it.  Essentially it's:
Nearly 50 books and still going.
At some point, preferably during your first draft, but especially in your second, you need to reach the point where you ask yourself, 'What is this story about, just what am I really writing about?' Are you writing about how the evils of mankind's devotion to technology have led us astray? (The Stand), or are you writing about man's inherent attraction to things that are dark, (The Shining), or are you writing about the cruelty that we inflict on each other? (Carrie)  
You need to ask this by at least the start of the rewrite of your first draft, but if you can identify it while writing the first draft, then all the better for you.
Now, King does go on to say that your first focus MUST be.. the story. Not very many good books have been written that were all idealistic theme and no story.. and any writer that sets out to write with an ideal in mind but no story will probably be wasting their time.. but I found it interesting that once we get our story out, we need to look deeper, into the heart of the story.

Doesn't matter if you're writing a moralistic tale of a young man's fight against insurmountable odds where he learns that the most powerful magic is love? (Harry Potter), or if your focus is a young girl's struggle to keep her family and friends safe against a tyrannical Post-Apocalyptic Government that pits community against community (Hunger Games).. your story needs depth if you want it to resonate with people.

So, when you reach a point where your story starts to feel flat, or you lose focus, or if it's just writer's block.. follow the King, and ask yourself, "Just what the heck am I writing anyway?"

Random Thought of the Day:  What does a fish do for the hour after they eat?

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Guess what time of year it is.... FIRST DRAFT TIME!!!