The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Sunday, May 31, 2015

It's All in the Timing


          This weekend I finished Stephen King's Revival.  There were times I should have been working on my report cards a couple of weeks ago, but instead... I was reading King. There were times that I should have been reading my book club book*... but instead, I skimmed to the end of that one and read every word of Revival.

             It's not my favorite King novel. That honor would probably go to Delores Claiborne... or Misery... or NOS4A2. (Whoops--that's a doozy written by his son, Joe Hill.) However, it was religion and electricity and drug addiction and rock and roll all rolled into one book. I tumbled downhill until I got the conclusion--thoroughly entertained the whole way






           I happened upon this book in an odd way. I was at a dog rescue event, there was a silent auction, I decided at the last minute--right before the bids closed--to check out the auction,  and this book was there--with only one bid of $5... So, for $7 I got a looks-brand-new hardbound Stephen King book and a dog rescue group got a $7 donation from me.

           The book has a conversational tone. Jamie, the narrator, sometimes just rambles on, and the reader gets to know that character through the ramblings. (Most of the time, it's unspoken and internal.)

           As I read, it hit me. I need to create a conversational thread like this in my WIP. It would fit the tone of the story, and since I'm the Prime Minister of Rambling, it would be an effective way of fleshing out my narrator.

           So why did I make a spur-of-the-moment decision to check out the auction? Why did I bid on this particular item?

           I think it was the right time to get this help--help straight from Stephen King himself...

            The book I was reading for my book club was Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker. We all decided:


  • The book taught us a lot about the role of a dressmaker in the 1800's.
  • The novel reminded all five of us how emotionally unstable Mary Lincoln was.
  • If the author had written it in first person, and did more research, she might have ended up with three-dimensional characters. Unfortunately, the book seems more like a Civil War rehashing and not an I-care-about-and-believe-in-the-characters novel.

22 comments:

  1. I had this book in my hand in the store and nearly bought it; maybe I should have? ("Dr. Sleep", as well.) I just rented and watched "Stephen King's The Shining" with Steven Weber and Rebecca DeMornay. It's really good and much closer to the book. Not better than the Kubrick version, just different. I did really like that DeMornay's Wendy is much stronger than Shelley Duvall's, though I liked her, too. And there's the whole bit with the father chasing Danny around the halls of the hotel with a giant croquet mallet; that's what remembered most from the novel.

    I spent the whole weekend watching a Mary Tyler Moore show binge-a-thon. Now it's over. Bye Mare. :-(

    As far as rambling, King's characters can pull it off. The other book sounds like a snooze.

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  2. Shay--I LOVED "The Shining" (the book) and was quite disappointed in the first movie. It made me gun-shy---I never was brave enough to watch the second one. Perhaps I should find it and watch it?

    A whole weekend of MTM? What a lucky girl you were, Were you an "I Love Lucy" fan? I just saw a picture of the statue they've put in her hometown, and it looks nothing like Lucille Ball. There's lots of controversy, everyone wants it gone... the sculptor wants thousands more to "fix" it... it's a big mess.

    (It WAS a snooze-fest, once I figured it wasn't going to get any better, so I skimmed. And skimmed. And skimmed. Fortunately, at the end (the last 50 or 60 pages?) it got much better. The focus was more on what was going on with Keckley--she still was pretty one-dimensional--but Mary Todd Lincoln had taken a backseat, the war was over and Abe was dead by that time.

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    1. "The Shining" is one of my favorite novels ever, and my favorite horror novel, just ahead of "The Exorcist." They both scared the shit out of me, pardon my Francais. I hated Kubrick's movie version when it came out; I felt he had turned it into a cartoon, and left out many of my favorite parts (the father chasing any through the halls, the hedge animals, the balky boiler in the basement). Like many people, over time, i have come to love that movie as its own thing, but the tv mini-series I mentioned it much closer to the book, and I really recommend it. The novel is one i plan to re-read soon, and i very rarely re-read anything.

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    2. Shay--Have you read Joe Hill's NOS4A2 ? I think it eclipses "The Shining" as far as scary (and I was scared **it-less when I read "The Shining" as well). I would highly recommend it. But check it out at the library. I'd hate for you to buy a book, only to have you hate it and then grumble about spending too much money on a book some frumpy St. Louisian recommended... ;)

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  3. I love the saying, "When the student is ready, the teacher appears," but I've never thought of Stephen King books as terribly educational. (Though when I tried to think of my favorite Stephen King, it was On Writing,) Glad you had such all-around good luck with that book!

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    1. Tammy--His book "Delores Claiborne" has the most distinctive voice (character-wise). It's as if he channeled the spunky woman narrator...

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  4. Kudos to you for scoring a $7 hardback, and helping a rescue dog at the same time. You're a truly selfless multitasker!

    My favorite Stephen King book is The Stand. I used to read it every summer, until I had kids, and they kind of clamored for my attention. I also favor Pet Sematary and The Shining. CARRIE is the only one of King's movies that I like better than the book. The original, of course, with Sissy Spacek.

    Funny how I was planning a reference to Stephen King in one of my blog posts today, the supersecret one. Yeah. I have forsaken Seinfeld for Stephen King. Mark the calendar.

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    1. Val--Does that mean that you and I are occasionally thinking alike? For your sake, I hope that's not the case...

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  5. Glad to hear your comments on Dressmaker book. It was one I had not gotten to and now I am glad I did not get hung up there. So many books, no time to waste! Stephen King is mixed bag for me...I have read a few. I read a short story collection where the story The Raft made me ill with sweat and rapid heart it was so real. The one about the car in the garage had almost same effect. I liked the one about Kennedy killing setting. I love his book on writing.

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    1. Claudia--You've mentioned three stories of King that I've not read. And I agree with you about his "On Writing." It's a brilliant book.

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  6. I haven't read any SK except On Writing. I know, I know. But my daughter is a big fan.

    Interesting concept about the Lincoln dressmaker. I think it's a trend something like fan fiction, where an inconsequential character is made the main focus. I just read Juliet's Nurse, on the recommendation of a writer I admire. It was interesting, seeing the plot unfold in a different light. But the author did seem to rely a bit heavily on bits of trivia from the time period, like what was served at dinners, showing off her research just a bit too much. She was strong at fleshing out characters from the play, making them 3D with their own backstories. It's started me thinking about others that could be done this way.

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    1. Marcia--Never read any Stephen King novels? At least read "Misery" (since it's about a writer) or "Delores Claiborne" because the characters are sooo well formed.

      "Juliet's Nurse" DOES sound intriguing. And you're right. The possibilities for something similar are endless.

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  7. Thanks for the heads up on Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker. I was considering reading it.

    Pat
    Critter Alley

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    1. Pat--You're welcome. Now, the book our group read before ("All the Light We Cannot See") I would highly recommend.

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  8. Tough to beat King. He's a master.

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  9. I read a ton of early King...Pet Sematary, The Shining, Firestarter, The Stand, Carrie, Salem's Lot--oh my covers-over-my-head, that book scared me! Not sure why I forsook King for other titles...but I do agree that timing is everything. Writing stuff seemed to fall on my deaf ears until suddenly it didn't.

    Come to think of it, I don't understand that, either. But I'm glad you got the tip you needed, reading Mr. King. :-)

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    1. Cathy--If you haven't read "Delores Claiborne" or "Misery" (about a writer!), you should. They're two of my favorites. And both are realistic fiction. Really.

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  10. You are right about timing. Now that you have decided to change your format, go for it. Can't wait to read the ramblings. Hey, maybe you could retitle to Ramblings..

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    1. Linda--Well, at some point--when it's finished--you probably will be asked/forced to read it. ;)

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  11. Now I'll need to add another book to the list to read. Love the post about your girls writing and telling their stories, also loved your post about Memorial Day. Hope your son stays safe.

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    1. Lynn--Thanks. And thanks for your thoughts about Ian. Right now--and until he's done with school--the only thing he's in danger of is getting too much of a sunburn or getting yelled at too much because of his smirking.

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