Thursday, July 1, 2010

Book Number 6

The sixth book I'm going to list here is an old one that I read way back when I was a teenager. It may have been my first Stephen King novel. I still think it's one of his best: The Stand. The main thing I like about King's work are his characters. To me they're like coming home to a room full of old friends. That might make me sound strange, to relate to characters written by the "master of horror," but I think it's what makes his books good. I haven't read every book he's ever written, and some I definitely like more than others, but The Stand is amongst his best work. And it isn't the story either, which has nothing at all to do with the plot of East Garrison. The Stand is about a final fight between good and evil after a plague kills about 99 percent of the world population.

King likes to write in first person, but this novel is written in a rotating omniscient third person. It's the same technique I used in EG. I like to switch from character to character, giving each some time at the wheel. To get into the characters, I literally have to become them, even when it's hard on my family. I can see why writers don't want to write certain kinds of books. It's exhausting to be a pregnant emotional basket case for months, but essentially it has to be done to get it right (for me).

What this means to me is being honest. King talks a lot about writing honestly. All writers try to do that, but it doesn't always come off. When it came to writing EG, most of the characters were easy because I did know them all. Not to say it's easy to write a book. I've never been pregnant and attacked by a mountain lion! So what do you do then? Research! Research! Research!

King's The Stand deserves reading because the characters (and there are many of them) are unforgettable. You'll relate to them. This is particularly true if you grew up on 80s rock, which he always uses. It sets the mood well and tells you a lot about his sense of sick humor. (Ever read "Survivor Type"?) Don't be put off by the size of this book. It goes fast when you're in King's company. You'll enjoy taking a road trip with the cast of The Stand. Take a walk on the wild side and try it.

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