Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Learn From the Best

Lessons from the Masters

Every now and then I am reminded why I love reading so much and why I still aspire to being a better writer than I am!

One of my all time favourite horror writers is Stephen King and I am sure there is not a single person who loves books who has not at least heard of him.  Dennis Wheatly before him and then Mr. King were the two authors (in my misspent youth) responsible for my fascination with tales of the supernatural and paranormal. Later I also became a huge fan of many of Dean Koontz’s books too. Ah, but that was when I was younger and more impressionable…

No, wait, I am still impressionable if the right kind of story comes along!

The reason I am reminiscing about my early sojourns with Stephen King and horror writing is that I recently read his latest offering. And what a delight it is too. I have to admit that one or two of his books over the last few years have been rather too rambling for me and did wonder if this would be the same. But, no – this is King at his best! The main thing for me is the absolute attention to detail and the quirky bits of imagery that transport the reader back to an age that has long since gone. I was around in the late fifties and sixties but only as a child so the detail has me totally hooked.  For those not familiar with this book it is all about time travel and changing the course of history. Fascinating stuff, anyway, but Mr King handles it so well… But then he would – he has many years of successful writing under his belt and the largest number of best sellers so he should know what he is talking about.
I am just about to decamp to one of Mr Koontz' books too - not visited his stories for some time. So I will see how or if he has changed. One thing I do know, he is still one of the biggest sellers of the genre so still has much to say to someone like me...

I only wish I could write the same!!

Oh well, onwards and upwards!

Who do you aspire to as a writer?


  1. I am about three quarters of the way through 11.22.63. Oh if I could write a tenth as well as Mr King I would be happy.

  2. I didn't like this book at all! I enjoyed parts of it but felt that it rambled and didn't live up to potential and most of all, needed a really strong editor. My favorite King book is Misery. I could read it over and over.

  3. Hi Pat
    I'm not a thriller writer and have never felt I had a particular role mode. But i have just finished a book by Patrick Gale - his novels (mainstream fiction) are dependable good reads without ever being predictable. If I can do that I'll be happy!
    Ali B

  4. I have never read any Stephen King novels. I think I may be the only one.

    In answer to your question, I aspire to Margaret Atwood (and I seem to have typed her name several times in blogs and comments over the last couple of days!) I love the way she can write so many different genres.

  5. I aspire to get better with each book I write. I want to be as good as my favorite authors. I used to LOVE Dean Koontz but for some reason, after awhile I became interested in different kinds of books and haven't read anything by him in awhile. I haven't read much King but his book On Writing is one of my bibles!

  6. I mainly "compete" against myself with the goal of getting better with everything I write - but if I had to pick one or two authors, I'd say Laurie Halse Anderson and Julie Orringer.

  7. My husband really enjoyed the Stephen King book too. I have read some of his fiction in the past, but prefer the shorter work. My husband doesn't usually read fiction at all, but when he does, he likes really long epic novels.

    My favourite writer is William Trevor. I could read him all day, every day and wish for even a fraction of his talent. Like you, I adore the little details that evoke an era and transport me back in time.

  8. I'm looking forward to reading YOUR novel, Pat! You've proved what you can do as a mature student -no mean feat- and I'm sure your writing will be just as good.

  9. I can't say that I really liked reading this book. But it was interesting to explore this author though.


  10. I haven't read many of Stephen King's novels, but I do love reading authors who show me how to be a better writer. And I am always aspiring to be better. : )

  11. Hello Pat - I love reading King and Koontz. Recently I read So Cold the River by Michael Koryta .. very Mr King ish. I really liked it. I'm learning more these days to read like a writer which is helping me become a better writer - well, I like to think so ;-)

  12. I've not read either author except King's On Writing, but I've certainly heard of them. I lean towards literary fiction/women's writing, such as Andrea Levy and Lori Lansens, though I understand this genre is on the wain!

  13. I've read more Koontz than King. When Koontz gets it right, the story is brilliant.

    1. Thanks to one and all for your insightful comments!

  14. Pat, Stephen King and Dean Koontz - you have my attention. Sometimes I feel like I'm in a sea full of people who don't read these wonderful men, okay well maybe it's more like a pond. :) If you haven't read Under the Dome, you might check it out. He does a great job, although I felt a little shafted with part of the ending, but character creations and such, he does what King does best. And, I'd have to add John Saul to the list. Although, I grew up devouring these three, as I've grown older and moved from wannabe writer to publishing author, my reading habits have evolved greatly. V. C. Andrews also had a huge effect on me. Well, I could go on and on with great authors.

    Best wishes,