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Cole Parker

On writing

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Tom Verducci is an excellent writer on the staff of Sports Illustrated, a magazine known for its sterling prose. He wrote the following in the current issue, and I think its wonderful and well worth displaying here:

Writing is hard. It requires constant thinking. The gears, flywheels and levers of the brain click a and clatter nonstop. Writing is flying an airplane without instruments, almost always through dark storm clouds of dark. It is new every time.

How could any of us here disagree with that?!

C

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Gee, I thought this would be a comment on Stephen King's excellent book On Writing, which I pull out and read every so often for inspiration.

I agree that Verducci's essay is right, but I think anybody who's had the terror of staring at a blank screen, waiting for the words to come, already knows what that feeling is like.

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Well perhaps Verducci is a wonderful writer, but I would never purchase Sports Illustrated to find out. The hetero world of sports doesn't interest me and neither does that swimsuit edition of the magazine which is probably what keeps the franchise alive.

As for Stephen King, I'm afraid the man has lost it in his latest works...bloody awful. But his book On Writing is now 14 years old and just as outstanding in the advice it gives to authors as it was when published. The grammar and rules we all learned in school....well, some of us did...is trumped by the easy and simple writing suggestions Mr. King presents in the second half of his book. Like Pecman, it is never far away from my keyboard.

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As for Stephen King, I'm afraid the man has lost it in his latest works...bloody awful.

Go read his science fiction novel 11/22/63, which came out just a couple of years ago. I think it's one of the best things he ever did, and it's very well-researched, very thought-provoking, and goes into some very unexpected directions. It's the opposite of awful if you check out the critics.

I wasn't as impressed with the new novel, Mr. Mercedes, but even that has some good moments. There's a section about 2/3 of the way in, where we find out all the secrets on the serial killer's background, that had me appalled, very sad, and actually empathetic towards the villain... at least for a moment. It's not bad, though also not great.

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