Saturday, February 05, 2011

In which the author shifts his impudence to the world of horror prose...

Famous Author's Comment (courtesy Google's Daily Literary Quote): Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule. - Stephen King

David's Response: Phhbbbbbththth.

Among the many and useful exceptions:
  • When, in prose, you are filling the mouth of a character with a dialect, style, or vocabulary other than your own; it is frequently a good idea to know the point you'd like to make, make it in your voice, then use your BBOW* to explore ways to revoice it.
  • When you are jumpstarting a particular idea in verse and you are experimenting with the musicality of the line. Illuminate offers different possibilities than does Light.
  • When you are working with a young writer in any form, and you have a teaching opportunity to open novice eyes to the idea that there are many ways to make the same point, each of them correct.

There's an episode of Family Guy** based on some King stories. In one scene, King himself appears, gets hit by a car, decides it's a great story starter, and completes the story in the time it takes him to come to rest after the collision. Funny and satirical. And quite complementary to his quote.

Don't get me wrong. I enjoy King (Thinner is my favorite), but I much, much prefer his short stories to the novels, and language is one of the keys why - the books take on a sameness of language, apparently quite purposefully, which drives me into page-flipping mode. I also find the most interest in King's characters. They're excellently drawn, but once I feel I've come to understand the character, I'm waiting for something interesting - language, a character flaw I missed, a plot twist not deployed in three other books - to lead me eagerly through the rest of the book. I don't get that from King's novels.

I feel like I need to apologize for taking a stance opposite a respected writer. But then, I'm a poet. Which means never having to say you're sorry. Or something like that.

* - Big Book O' Words

** slightly toward the brilliant side of the brilliant-offensive continuum.

No comments: