Dear Mr. King,
It feels strange to be writing you a thank you note. I’ve never considered myself a fan of yours. Ironically, I married a fan who, as of the mid-80s owned every one of your books in hardcover, some of them in two different languages. He tried and tried to get me to read your books, and I dug in my heels. I didn’t like horror. I’m squeamish that way.
I still don’t, if I’m honest. And I know you’ve written things that aren’t considered horror. My husband convinced me to read The Eyes of the Dragon at one point, since I do like fantasy, but I didn’t like it. I’m stubborn that way, and it was probably my own prejudice talking.
Recently, however, I acquired a copy of On Writing. I know, I’m late to the party, but I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing this book.
I’m not even done reading it yet. I put it down in the middle of a section to write this. I was going to email you personally, but I see on your website, that you don’t give that out. That’s OK. I hope, at some point, this post reaches you somehow, perhaps, through the magic of Google alerts.
The section where I set the book aside was the one on that jackhammer, the plot. I’ve always considered myself an inveterate pantser, but as I’ve worked my way toward publication, I’ve taken classes and workshops, read craft books and listened to other writers. If you poke about my website just a bit (not that you would, because you probably don’t have a lot of time for it), you might notice I’ve recently signed a publishing contract for a historical romance novel. It’s actually a two-book deal, and I’ve been struggling with the second book.
Part of that struggle is the pressure of knowing this second book has to come up to scratch and me being worried that manuscript I sold was a fluke. Book two, you see, was nothing more than a kernel of an idea, a situation if you will, that I pitched to my editor over the phone when we were talking about a possible deal on the first book.
So as I’ve struggled with this book having to be right, I’ve wondered and worried about the plot. Am I doing it right? Am I going to have those turning points exactly where I need them? Am I going to have the proper through lines? The right structure?
And then I read that section in your book about plot being a jackhammer and breaking at least as much as it helps in extracting that fossil of a story.
I wrote that first manuscript not worried about any of those things. And I sold it. I need to get back to that mindset, and I need to get back to the joy.
So thank you for that reminder, from the bottom of my heart.
Thank you for writing this book.