Clues: Alex's Blog


Stephen King: Creative Writing Cannot Be Taught

Stephen King on creative writing classes....I have to agree. Some of the most tedious hours of my life have been in creative writing classes.


Not every writer is good and not everything written by good writers is great.

That's true, and the idea that someone can tell you how to create is ridiculous. Certainly you can learn structure, format, discipline and tricks of the trade, but even my grandfather--who had more than 30 of his books published--could never give me the secret of how to make a good, solid story.

The idea of teaching a fledgling writer how to be the next Hemingway--or Stephen King-- is like teaching a tone-deaf person to sing. You can't do it.

Either they can create or they can't.

To keep this from being a complete downer, I will say this: you can write if you work your butt off. You may be like me, terribly average with an occasional "good one" that comes from that hard work (and reading this helps). And if that "good one" is satisfying, then keep writing. But if it's all frustration and "where's my book deal?" then you might want to try singing.


P.S. Have you listened to the latest episode of the podcast? Click here

What's New

Hello and a belated happy New Year to you. I hope you East Coast readers are weathering the blizzard okay. Probably best to stay in and read a good book. (!)

A quick update on what's happening here:

I've spent the past few weeks getting back to normal pace at the day job since the relative inactivity of the holidays. I'm on month four of a kickboxing exercise regimen and I love it--as hard as it has been to get in shape, it's definitely worth it. I wonder if John Pilate will try it, too?

Been catching up on my reading, also...if you have not read Jason McIntyre's Zed you're missing out on a hell of a good book.

The new collection of Stephen King short stories has been a bit of a chore, frankly, and a letdown compared to the masterpiece that is Full Dark, No StarsBut hey, he's King. Even his average stuff is usually worth a read. In the case of The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, I mostly enjoy his introductions, which illuminate the backstory behind writing each piece, 

If you're reading this, however, chances are you're more interested in when you might hear from our friends in Cross Township again, right?

Well, I have some things that are working...and some things that are not. I have been working (struggling may be a better word) on a project that involves a completely new direction for my "brand" as a writer, and must confess it's not catching fire. More on that as it develops (or doesn't, for that matter).

Back to John Pilate. 

The surprise success of Pilate's 7 with the breezier short story format is intriguing. I enjoyed writing those stories immensely, and sales have been fairly brisk. That said, I'm contemplating another round of short stories, then returning to the novel format. I'd love your thoughts on that--just plug 'em in in the comments section.

Otherwise, I am putting thoughts together on a novel that is more of a mainstream affair--something different from the mystery/thriller/horror stuff. I'm not saying it will be out anytime soon, but it takes up some mental real estate that I usually devote to the Pilate Mysteries. 

I'm very excited about the return of a show I literally watched from the beginning: The X-Files. I am a huge fan and am looking forward to seeing what Mulder and Scully are up to these days. 

Well, that's it for now. Thanks for dropping by, and I hope if you have not done so already you will write a quick review of my stuff on Amazon. Just click here to find the books. Thanks so much...stay warm!

Behind the Scenes at Disneyworld

Sometimes I hold myself back with what I write in my fiction. That's cowardly. 

To be honest about what you're writing, you have to write stuff that may offend people's politics, morality, religiosity, sense of civility and sexuality. If I play it safe--avoiding offending readers by depicting characters and situations they may find offensive, then I'm not telling the truth and don't deserve a reader's money and time. 

Real life is seldom like Disneyworld. Real life is what goes on behind the scenes at Disneyworld.

Stephen King summed it up well: