Wednesday, 16 June 2010


In his excellent book On Writing Stephen King suggests that you don't need to know how a story ends to make a start on writing it. You don't even need to know what happens in the middle. All you need is a character, and to put that character in a situation. The idea is just to start writing, and discover for yourself what happens next.

Well I've got a character, and I've got a situation. What I don't know is what's going to happen next but I'm going to try the King approach and just start writing, because I want to find out.

The problem I have is that I'm not one of the fortunate minority who make their living from their writing, and who have the time to write every day. I have a busy work life and, right now, an even busier home life. Despite my best intentions, finding time to just sit down and write is hard sometimes. What I need is some kind of framework, some more pressing motivation... in short, I need deadlines.

That's where this blog comes in. I intend to write a few hundred words each week, and publish them here every Friday. See? A deadline. I'll have to write something, otherwise.... well, you know, the whole shebang will come crashing down.

My intention is that the story, whatever it may end up as, will unwind over a period of weeks, kind of like an old serial novel or chapter play. Right now, I've no idea whether it'll end up as a short story (in which case this blog will be done and dusted in a month or so), a novella or something longer. Also, I'm hoping that anyone who reads this might offer constructive criticism via the blog's comments facility.

Let's see how it goes then, shall we? I'll post the opening paragraphs this Friday... better get writing!


  1. Good luck with this - I look forward to seeing how it turns out. If you've got King's "On Writing" by your side then you can't go far wrong, though I don't think I've ever started writing a story without knowing exactly how it's going to end.

    A good companion piece to King's book is "Lessons from a lifetime of writing" by David Morrell (yes, him again).

  2. I have a vague idea of the final act, but no idea how the story gets there. Yet.

    And cheers for the tip on Morrell's book, I'll look into that.

  3. Great idea, Martin. I'm impressed. Stephen King released a book in chapters a few years ago, which you probably know. I didn't read it, but I liked the idea. This seems similar. It's also a bit like the 19th century writers, producing novels a chapter at a time which were published in magazines. I think this could work.

  4. Thanks Ian. Yes, The Green Mile was originally published as a series of six short books.

    You've seen (and given helpful feedback on) an earlier draft of tomorrow's offering, so let's hope it works! I quite like the idea of being a bit 19th Century...