The plot unfolds

For Stephen King, the fun of writing a novel is not in the finished product but in the process

October 24, 2019 04:27 pm | Updated 04:27 pm IST

If John Grisham has his plot in hand before he wrote, Stephen King, no less a best selling author has a completely different strategy. He says, “There is no rationale…you go where the story leads you. In the story I just wrote, I had no idea it was to have a dark conclusion. I thought this book will be the opposite of Dracula where the good guys win.

In this book, the good guys are going to lose and everybody is going to become a vampire at the end of the book. But that did not happen. Because you go with the book and this one just led me into a very dark place. I did not even want to go there, I wanted people to find it out for themselves…”

King describes writing as a, “…big powerful machine. The best description of writing a novel, that I ever heard, was in Thomas Willamson’s novel about a novelist trying to write a novel. It covers one or two days…it is a process and a lot of things happen to him. It is a fabulous book.

He says that writing a novel is like building a little camp fire on an empty dark plain. One by one these characters come out of the dark and each one has a little pile of wood and then it is this big bonfire and all the characters stand around to warm themselves. And that is what is good for me. I have a good friend, John Irving and John says he always begins a novel by writing the last line and to me that is like eating your dessert before you eat the meal. Everybody works in different ways… I could never write a book that way.”

Little red thread

King Continues, “I have also thought of writing like a little red thread that goes into a hole and you start to pull it out, winding it slowly finding the other end of it. Sooner or later you will get there. For me, the fun of writing a novel is not in the finished product, for which I do not care that much…the shelf holding up my books, that is like dead skin. They are things that are done. But I love the process. I tell the story to myself. And in a way when the work is the best work it is more like being a secretary than being a creative person, you just take the stuff down…”

Yes, King does believe in God because he says, “I made a decision to believe in God because it is better to believe than not. When I had problems bigger than I could solve myself, it was easy to say if I have a pal greater than myself then I can use that to make my life good…there is no downside in believing there is a heaven…”Though he adds, “People with lot of faith have a greater fall…I don’t think I fear death so much as diseases that may stop me from thinking…”

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