Natalie Goldberg on…Natalie Goldberg — Best line in the video: “I practice and I keep showing up. That’s what makes the difference.” We could all benefit from that philosophy — and so could this blog. ;)


Contents Copyright © 2006-2014 Kristen King


Chuckles and Me: Mixing Comedy With Grief

a guest post by author Elisa Lorello — One of the most famous Mary Tyler Moore episodes (and in sitcom history) was about the death of Chuckles the Clown. While at Chuckles’ funeral, Mary finds herself with a case of the giggles, which soon trickle into laughter. With every mention of Chuckles’ name, his TV shows, his characters, Mary’s attempts to stifle her laughter are futile until the reverend validates her laughter. At that moment, she bursts into tears.

When I planned to write Ordinary World, the sequel to Faking It (a romantic comedy), I had no idea that grief and loss were going to play such predominant roles. I knew Andi had to evolve from her insecurities about her body and her intimacy issues, but I didn’t know how upside down her world was going to be turned. How was I going to make it work? How was I going to provide the reader with a pleasurable reading experience when the very first chapter takes Andi to a funeral? How could the sequel to a romantic comedy be so heavy? [click to continue…]


Writing Quote, January 29, 2010 — “Because You’ve Got Something to Say”

You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you’ve got something to say.
— F. Scott Fitzgerald

If you could tell the world one thing with your writing, what would it be?

If you could tell the world one thing with your writing, what would it be? — Are you writing to change the world? To make a statement? Or just to write?

There are a lot of reasons people put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard, and they’re all equally valid. But Fitzgerald highlights two very different types of writing, a sentiment that seems an excellent match for Tuesday’s quote about being pulled by words.

Sometimes when we sit down to write, we’re not sure what we have to say or even what we might want to say. Does that mean we shouldn’t bother writing? Not at all. The important thing in writing is to listen to yourself. At times, we may start out thinking we’re going to write one thing and then end up writing something else entirely. That something else, the ideas that claw their way to the surface, I believe that is what Fitzgerald’s talking about when he says that we write because we have something to say.

What do you want to say with your writing? What’s the story that’s trying to bubble up to the surface each time you embrace the written word? And why haven’t you written it yet?

– Kristen

Contents Copyright © 2006-2014 Kristen King


Writing Quote, January 28, 2010 — “Writing with Effort, Reading with Pleasure”

“What is written without effort is in generally read without pleasure.”
— Samuel Johnson

How hard do you work before you're satisfied with your writing?

How long and how hard do you work before you’re satisfied with your writing? — If there was ever a man with a knack for getting right to the point, it was Samuel Johnson. We’re talking about the same guy who said, “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.” While writing for pay is entirely up to you, I do implore you as one of your potential future readers to write with effort.

I don’t believe that writing should be a chore, but it shouldn’t be easy, either. Just as a sharp knife cuts easily through even the toughest obstacle, finely honed writing can get right into the soul of your reader. If your first draft is a breeze, good for you. Just don’t assume you’re done yet. Earlier this week I told you to turn off your inner editor. This is indeed key to getting that first draft out of your head and onto the page. But once it’s there, now is the time the real work begins: the work of revising, of killing your darlings, of perfecting your product.

Done and imperfect is worlds better than never done because I’ll never get it perfect — don’t get me wrong. There’s a middle ground, though, between laboring intensely for scores of hours or dashing off words, Devil may care. Find it and embrace it, and your readers will reward you with their eyes, their hearts, and their minds.

Do you believe writing can and/or should be easy?


Contents Copyright © 2006-2014 Kristen King


Writing Quote, January 27, 2010 — “Just Like Killing a Child”

Finishing a book is just like you took a child out in the back yard and shot it.
— Truman Capote

Is it time to take your novel out back and shoot it? I hope not!

Is it time to take your novel out back and shoot it? I hope not! — Capote’s comment is blunt, but he’s not the only one to speak of writing in violent terms. William Faulkner advised writers, “Kill your darlings.”

As someone who’s been working on the same book (more or less) since I was 15, I’m speaking from personal experience when I tell you that I think there’s something incredibly appealing about writing a book and less so about having written a book. That’s why so many authors make the writing process soooooooo long and drawn-out: We don’t want to say goodbye.

Do we feel cold and heartless for turning our backs on our books, for leaving our characters alone in the world? Do writers suffer from a bit of empty nest syndrome?

What would happen to you if you finished that manuscript, be it a book or an article? Would you be less of a writer, more of a writer, or exactly the same amount of writer you were while you were still torturing yourself with the endless process of writing it?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

– Kristen

Contents Copyright © 2006-2014 Kristen King


Writing Quote, January 26, 2010 — “Fast Writing is Good Writing”

“The faster I write the better my output. If I’m going slow I’m in trouble. It means I’m pushing the words instead of being pulled by them.”
— Raymond Chandler

When it comes to your writing, is your muse pulling you or is the other way around?

When it comes to your writing, is your muse pulling you or is the other way around? — How many of us have had the experience of writing so fast our fingers can barely keep up with us? And not just because we’re on deadline and don’t have a choice — that doesn’t count.

I can tell I’m writing something really good when, as Chandler said, the words are just pulling me along. But when each word is less like being pulled along than like pulling a tooth, that’s a place I don’t enjoy being.

How do you get a hold on that fast writing, to make it part of your routine and the rule rather than the exception? A valuable lesson I learned during National Novel Writing Month 2009 (NaNoWriMo ’09) is that to write well and to write fast, I have to turn off my “inner editor” — that mean little voice telling me to go back over every sentence ad nauseam before I proceed to the next. In other words, my “inner editor” is the one who tries to get me to spend my time rewriting instead of just writing.

Today, try turning off your inner editor for a while and see what happens. Write with abandon, and don’t change anything until you’ve finished. When I did this, I was surprised at the gems that came out, the glimmers that before I would have been too anal to appreciate, much less to cultivate in future drafts.

Do you believe that writer’s instinct will lead you down the right path if you just get out of your own way? Or is rewriting during the process a must for writers?

– Kristen

Contents Copyright © 2006-2014 Kristen King