Stephen King Writing TechniquesWriting techniques by Stephen King
Writing suspense: Learn from Stephen King
Apart from the fact that no less an authoritarian than William Faulkner suggests that you read in different genre and style, there is another imperative need for you to read Stephen King's books, no matter what you write. He is the number one author of horrors in America, but you don't have to like horrors to know about them, you don't have to like suspense stories, you don't even have to like it.
Stephen King's main purpose in writing is excitement, and as we will see in a while, excitement in this extract from William Cane's Fiction Writing Master Class is one of the storyteller's most important instruments. As writers, you were probably asked to create your own distinctive writing styles, as if it were so easy to get it out of nowhere.
Writing Master Class analyses the writing genres of twenty-one outstanding writers, among them Charles Dickens, Edith Wharton, Franz Kafka, Flannery O'Connor, Ray Bradbury and many others. Featuring a captivating and sensitive guidebook that reveals the writing mysteries of these extraordinary writers, this book shows you how to use them to create a writing experience that sets you apart from the beating mass.
There are three stages in the process that Stephen King always uses to generate tension. At first he refers or gives clues to something that can either arouse the reader's interest, a dilemma or a concern somewhere on the track. Secondly, he refers to this worrying thing or notion a few occasions after introducing it first, and before the payout.
Third, King puts tension on a climax during the payout, the section of the storyline where the terror is most intensive. In Stephen King's books, the tension is usually aimed at upsetting the readers. In simple terms, he wants the readers to have the feeling that something terrible is happening to a person he really does care about.
In Misery (1987), for example, the tension in the situation is clear from the minute the reader realizes that Paul is locked up in Annie's home and at her mercy. In Misery, for example. A large part of the concern arises from the thoughts of our detained hero: "She will go out now. "Paulýs worrying inner soliloquy is continued throughout the whole volume; whenever something terrible happens, the character is worried about it, and as a consequence (as the reader sympathises with it) the reader is worried about it.
Misery's storyline is a piece of equipment that generates a patterns of sustained tension. Obviously, the reality is largely manifested by the mind of the lookpoint characters, but the reality itself is a stand-alone unit used by King to generate tension. He is physically confined and the fact that he is partially paralysed is in itself a cause for concern.
Call-back technology is always used when Annie says: "Now I have to do the dishes. "She torments Paul the first times she says it; the repetition of the sentence is a reminder to the reader that more penalty is on the way. At the end of the novel, Paul eventually attacked and burned Annie from his sick bed and managed to at last assassinate her through heartless ordeal.
Part one of the novel focuses on the impact of the viral, and during this opening section King lets us know how serious it could be, it's in part through in-houseologue. "In the second part of the novel, tension grows as a group of human beings fight to rescue and reconstruct the planet after its devastation by the war.
Throughout these two stages, the actual outbreak of the bug acts as a recall alerting the reader that further damage may happen at any time. The third part of the book is the reward, as the reader experiences two groups of politicians in a last four-pounder. Tension is one of the most potent instruments an author has to captivate his reader - but it is not only for thriller.
Ranging from the fictional mother tongue to the memory, excitement generates the emotive excitement that keeps the viewer at the periphery of his seat. This is your practical guideline for integrating excitement into your story. Cleland shows you how to do it in this book: Carrie, King's first novel, already shows him a champion of excitement by using foresighted clues, recalls and payouts to heighten readers' worries.
The tension rises when the girl's excessively religious mom responds in an antagonistic way after her daughters are called to the prom: "One second later, disgusted, "the girls' mom tossed her tee in Carrie's face. Readers expect a certain response, but the anger that breaks out during the payout, and leaves many deaths in the city, is certainly the kind of exaggerated response that no one could have predicted.
Meanwhile it should be clear why King did not describe how to generate tension in On Writing: Methods vary from volume to volume. After all this, what could he have said: "Create tension by humiliating a character"? The protagonist must be likeable, the tyrants must be genuine, the mom must be driven to be mean, and the response of anger must be skilfully sketched and pounded during payout.
It is actually more useful to be less peculiar and just to say that you generate tension by worrying the reader about something. Of course, the cause of worries, fears and anticipations will be different in every history. It is the best way to know what Stephen King is, not to study his writing books, but to study one of his books.... with a crayon.
Then while you are reading the volume, await the recalls and highlight them as you find them. Eventually you orbit the payout where the tension is greatest, e.g. where Danny walks into room 217 or where Jack's insanity causes him to hit Wendy with a rocking hammer. This way you get to know the three main stages of generating excitement: clues to worrying things, recalls and payouts.
These include the Book of Kisses (1993), The Art of Hugging (1996), The Art of Kissing Book of Questions and Answers in 1999 et 2007i. Cane' s self-help book The Birth Order Book of Love was released by Da Capo / Perseus Books in 2008.