From Stephen King’s handbook,
“Words create sentences; sentences create paragraphs; sometimes paragraphs quicken and begin to breath. Imagine, if you like, Frankenstein’s monster on its slab. Here comes lightning, not from the sky, but from a humble paragraph of English words. Maybe it’s the first really good paragraph you ever wrote, something so fragile and yet so full of possibility that you are frightened. You feel as Victor Frankenstein must have when the dead conglomeration of spare parts suddenly opened its watery yellow eyes….
“You go on to the third level, of course, and begin to write real fiction. Why shouldn’t you? Why should you fear? Carpenters don’t build monsters, after all; they build houses, stores, and banks. They build some of wood a plank at a time. You will build a paragraph at a time, constructing these of your vocabulary and your knowledge of grammar and basic style. As long as you stay level-on-the-level and shave every door, you can build whatever you like—whole mansions, if you have the energy….
“At its most basic, we are only discussing a learned skill, but do we not agree that sometimes the most basic skills can create things far beyond our expectations? We are talking about tools and carpentry, words and style…but as we move along, you’d do well to remember that we are also talking about magic.”
I love the no-nonsense, if-you-build-it-they-will come feeling of these words, don’t you? They help us remember why writing is called a craft: it’s a skill that we can learn and become better at. It takes time, it takes training, it takes self-mastery and discipline. It’s part skill, part magic. We can do this! And now, energized and inspired, let’s all write on!
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