Friday, August 31, 2012

"I want to be Stephen King!"

Full disclosure: I love King's work and admire him tremendously. He is a writer's writer who loves reading, who writes every day, who walks the walk, as they say.

Photo: Reuters
Too many writers claim to want to be King when what they really want is his money and success.  Or they want to write like him.  They want his freedom and his fans. I'm not going to tell these writers they shouldn't want these things. People write for all kinds of reasons, although honestly, if they want a guarantee of money and fame, they should probably do something else.

When I say I want to be Stephen King, I mean I want to write with passion and to touch people the way he has. His work leaves a lasting impression on readers and that is what I would like to achieve. To attempt to write "like King," writing horror stories or thrillers or gore the way he does, can only lead to a mediocre interpretation of a master. And mediocrity is not an option.

King admonishes all wannabe writers to read as much as they can.  To him, that separates the wheat from the chaff.  If you can't manage to read regularly, how can you be a good writer? And honestly, why would you want to write if you don't like to read? I teach ballet because I love to dance. If I can't pass along that passion, why do it at all?