thoughts on the stephen king video

This post intended for Week 5

In the Stephen King interview, King essentially comments on how the short story is becoming a lost art.  Fewer people are reading and publishing short stories these days because of the popularity of the novel.

Though novel writing is the prevalent style and length of story telling, King said he never wants to lose his ability to write short stories.  He doesn’t say it outright, but I think this is because short-stories are what gave him his start; if he allowed himself to be completely sucked in to the realm of novels, he would be turning his back on the short story craft.  For him, short stories are the heart of a novel, should the story take the form of a novel at all.  This has been his experience with some of his books, like Misery, which began as a short story and swelled into a full-length narrative.

I find it comforting that his writing-process appears to sometimes consist of writing a short story that ends up expanding into a book because short stories are all I know how to do.  Novels are daunting and when I try to jump in and write one, I end up lying in bed, completely demoralized and thinking I’m a chump. Of course I can’t write a novel, I’m barely twenty.

He said too many new writers fall into novel writing and don’t learn the short story craft; so I guess according to the King-scale, I’m right on track.  I feel his opinion should be taken into account because King is a success. He started writing short stories when he was eighteen and was published by the time he was twenty, which chiefly makes me hate him for inadvertently making me feel even more like a chump; but also draws my attention to the fact that he was clearly doing something right.

At the same time, I am ambivalent about whether or not to accept this information.  He is a successful writer, so there’s certainly value in what he has to say, but I am unsure if he is right or if he is allowing wistfulness to get in the way of progress.  Of course when it comes to writing, there is very little room for right and wrong in terms of style and length.

This is a very complicated profession.  I should stop now and go into engineering.  At least there, theres more black and white.

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