Saturday Seminar: King Says Con’t

It’s been a bit since I perused through my file of nuggets from Stephen King’s On Writing, but today seems like a good day to think about editing my disaster of a spy novel. In preparation I’ll consider what King says on the topic.

Two drafts and a polish. (209)

Completely reasonable. I’ve written my first draft and now I need to work out a second one.

Revision formula: 2nd draft = 1st draft – 10% (222) 

Oh dear. That could be problematic for me as a couple of my betas have suggested the second half of my spy novel needs fattening. It’s too lean, too rushed, too barren. Perhaps I should do 2nd draft = 1st draft plus 10%?

If what you hear from your betas makes sense, then make the changes. You can’t let the whole world into your story, but you can let in the ones that matter the most. And you should. (219)

Hrm, one of the betas who said feed my novel was the hubs. And realistically, he is always right. Always.

When you rewrite your main job is taking out all things that are not the story. (57)

It’s been suggested I should dump the sex scenes. But other people like them. So I think really the question comes down to, do I need the sex scenes to demonstrate the nature of the relationship or could I just allude to it and keep things cleaner?

When a novelist is challenged on something he likes-one of his darlings-the first two works out of his mouth are almost always Yeah but. (226)

Ah oh. Did I say Yeah, But in the last response? No, no I didn’t. LOL. But maybe the feeling was there.

The most important things to remember about back story are that (a) everyone has a history and (b) most of it isn’t very interesting. (227)

Ok, one of the sex scenes is back story. Maybe I should change that to a one line allusion rather than a half page descriptive.

It is, after all, the dab of grit that seeps into an oyster’s shell that makes the pear, not pearl-making seminars with other oysters. (232)

Alright, I get the point. I should just dive in and see where that second draft takes me. But before I go…just a bit of amusement. Spot the mistake, courtesy of King. 

“Although deer season doesn’t start until November in Maine, the fields of October are often alive with gunshots; the locals are shooting as many peasants as they think their families will eat.”

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8 thoughts on “Saturday Seminar: King Says Con’t

  1. I had never heard of the Second Draft = 1st Draft – 10% rule. Right now my equation is more like: Second Draft = 1st Draft – 20% + 30% x alpha. :p Oh well, I hope the revision will be cleaner on the next book I write.
    Thanks as always for the tips!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m no longer sure what draft my NaNoWriMo output was but my guess is its currently about 20 to 30% shorter … cut a lot of sex and wimpy love scenes … they bored me writing them let alone reading them … prefer implicit to explicit anyway … oh and this peasant has been shot at, albeit by mistake when a teenager which was scary, I was in a wood during a pheasant shoot and no one knew I was there … honest!. ‘On Writing’ sits on my desk next to my Concise Oxford English Dictionary, thanks for the prompt, Mr King is due another read as I haven’t for a year.

    Liked by 1 person

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