Tuesday, June 2, 2009

On The Nightstand

SECRET WINDOWS: Essays and Fiction on the Craft of Writing
by Stephen King

I'd never heard of this book before my friend Dan and I were poking around the dealers room at the last NECon. It's a companion book to King's ON WRITING, which for my money is one of four books about writing that are worth reading.

(I think I've mentioned them before, but for me, the best books on writing are King's ON WRITING, Ray Bradbury's ZEN AND THE ART OF WRITING, Tom Monteleone's COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO WRITING A NOVEL, and David Morrel's LESSONS FROM A LIFETIME OF WRITING. I'd definitely add SECRET WINDOWS to that list.)

Dan snatched up the copy sitting on one of the dealer's tables, but luckily there was another copy in a box somewhere. Otherwise, a fight might have broken out. It's an exceptionally rare book, released by the Book of the Month Club and never reissued in a regular edition. Probably why I'd never heard of it.

Being the kind of guys we are, we both stayed up late that night, drinking beer and reading this book, which (as the sub-title helpfully suggests) is a collection of essays, speeches, and lectures from King about the art and business of writing. I'd read a few of them in other places, particularly the long section on Horror fiction from DANSE MACABRE reprinted here, but there is more than enough new material to make it worth hunting down.

As I prepare to launch back into major work on the FADE novel, I started re-reading SECRET WINDOWS, looking for a little inspiration. Plenty to be found here. King talking about writing is always fascinating, and the introduction by Peter Straub is equally engaging.

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