Tag: stephen king

Highest #Earning #Authors of 2014

At the end of 2014, Forbes magazine estimated the earnings of popular writers based on Nielsen Bookscan numbers and conversations with industry insiders (though I’m not sure exactly what that means) and then basically made a list of the “Highest Earning Authors of 2014.”  You can check out the article at Forbes.  Here are the highlights:

  1. James Patterson
  2. Dan Brown
  3. Nora Roberts
  4. Danielle Steele
  5. Janet Evanovich
  6. Jeff Kinney
  7. Veronica Roth
  8. John Grisham
  9. Stephen King
  10. Suzanne Collins

PS  It was mentioned that in the last year or so we’re seeing more YA authors on the list.  Books like “Hunger Games,” “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” and “Divergent” garnering significant attention and sales, enough to push their authors into the Top 10.


Video Saturday (okay, it’s Sunday and I’m a bit late) – Advice to Writers from Stephen King

Going back through my list of authors included in Video Saturday, I was a bit shocked to discover that Stephen King was not on the list. Why is that surprising?  Because probably the book that has been the most helpful in providing me with the “oomph” to write is his, “On Writing.”  Note, I’m not saying that technically it was the most useful or that it held forth huge nuggets of wisdom but if there was ever any book that imbued in me the feeling of “rightness” about my work, then that was it.  There is also the personal connection that I was living alone in Washington, DC at the time and my girlfriend was till in Missouri.  This was the first book that we ever read together.  We’d read and then every night we’d talk about what we read.  As a result, I still have a very positive emotional reaction to it.

So, not to delay any longer, below is a very short video (and an old one) of Stephen King giving advice to writers.  His key point – you must be well-read.  Read a lot and write a lot.   And then because I couldn’t help myself and because I was looking for something a little more recent, I found a video of Stepehen King’s Afternoon in Savannah before the Savannah Book Fair.  The video/audio isn’t great but still understandable.  Note, the second one is 26 minutes long.



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WWW: That Attractive Quagmire

If you haven’t had a chance to watch the video Day posted yesterday, do it now.  I can wait.

So, Stephen King calls novels a quagmire, says that young writers get in over their heads writing them.  Know what?  Guilty.  I labored under the impression that I was a novelist for years before I started working on short stories.  It’s impossible to say where I would be as a writer if I had approached my nascent writing career differently, but I do feel like a lot of the time that I spent on those early novels, churning instead of honing, is time that could have been better spent better learning the craft.

Because you know what?  With every short story, I learn a new lesson.  A new skill, a new trick, a new aspect of how I write.  Even the bad ones give me ways to grow as a writer, and in part that’s the power of the brevity of the form.  They force you to grow and get better, to improve if you want to get your ideas expressed.  The early, let’s call them “quagmire years,” novels on the other hand provide much less of that.  There’s no market force driving them to be more concise, better with detail, better with character, because a young writer may often feel like he or she has words to burn.

Alright, that’s not me making generalizations.  That’s me actually looking at my course as I worked through my own quagmire years.  Novels were reasons to meander through stories, to not get to some points and overly belabor other points.  And in the process, perhaps my writing may have improved some, but I don’t know how many lessons I really learned as a writer in those early stages.

I’m not saying don’t write novels as a young writer.  Some writers progress at different paces, some are more immediately ready to get into long form.  But know what you’re doing, know what you’re getting into.  The more I stand back and look at novels from the perspective of short story writings, the more flaws I see in my habit of jumping straight into them without a clear battle plan in mind, without an outline, without character sketches.  These are the things holding me back from reentering the novel I was working on, and the things that I know I need to do before starting the next one.

So give short stories a try.  Revel in their length.  Enjoy how much faster they can be created, critiqued, and improved upon.  And beware of the traps and quagmires out there.

Few Words – But 5 Minutes of Video from Stephen King

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I’ve been struggling of late (okay, most of the time) in my writing.  I’ve completed short stories and sold a few and then found myself struggling towards a novel.  I was thinking, “Okay, you’ve done the appetizer’ it is time to move on to the main course.”  But every time I tried, I failed.  And failed spectacularly, not even getting enough material on the page to constitute a complete short story.  So, it was interesting to hear a few words from Stephen King on this issue.

Points from the 5 minutes of video:

– Short stories are an art form in their own right.

– You can lose your ability/skill to do good short stories.

– A novel can be a quagmire young writers stumble in to before they’re ready.

– Good short stories are an art of miniaturization.


Unfortunately, I cannot find the full video on Borders’ Media site.  But at least this little bit gives me some food for thought…and some hope.

Unleaded Post #200, Anniversaries and Celebrations

Flame and MatchYay!  This is Unleaded:  Fuel for Writers’ 200th post.  Thank you to DL Thurston for mentioning it because knowing my luck (and state of mind) it would have gone unnoticed and passed silently into the dark.  

And now I’m just a little stressed with the idea of what does one DO for a 200th blog post???  Isn’t this where most blogs indulge in some sort of give-aways like books or widgets, or cars, or summer homes, or something writery-related?  Nope, not imaginative enough for widgets or prizes.  Have the host write something pithy and meaningful (and most definitely witty) to recognize the event?  Unfortunately, I am most definitely none of those things.  So what is left?  Not much.  So, I would guess you are now trapped with my own reflections on anniversaries, writing and the what, why and wherefore of Unleaded:  Fuel for Writers.

200 posts ago, my partner, my friends, colleagues and writing buddies came together to create this group endeavor; to share our journey as we struggle through all the inspirations and perspirations that make up writing and publishing.  It is about the journey and the hard work, blood, sweat and far too many tears involved.  It is sharing our triumphs of short story publication or novel consideration and supporting each other on those, days, weeks and even months when every word is a struggle.  Writing is a lonely effort.  Something you do locked away inside your own head.  Even when surrounded by others, there is only you and the words.  Unleaded was to be an opportunity to share that desolation; shine a little light out there – if for no other reason than to make sure we aren’t alone in the dark.

And Unleaded has grown to be even more than that.  It has become an opportunity to share the excitement of a new idea or find others who are willing to invest in a deeper understanding of story.  This is about art and language and the sparks that can fly between writer and reader.  And to explore the elements necessary to see when it changes from spark to flame to conflagration.

But that wasn’t something any single person did.  We did that. We.  Together.

So I want to take this space and moment to thank all of you – the writers, the readers, the commenters, those of you who’ve subscribed but don’t quite get around to reading one more blog, and even those of you who may have accidentally stumbled upon this page.  🙂  You have other things you could be doing; you have other things you should be doing (like writing, you know) but you’re here.  That is a commitment that isn’t taken lightly.  You are as much a part of “the writer’s journey” for us as we are for you.  I believe that.

To quote Stephen King, “Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends.  In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well.”

That really is the best word for it, “Enriched.”  I am truly humbled and have found my writing life enriched by all of you who are a part of this small start, because that is really what this is, a beginning, and I avidly look forward to the next 200 posts. 

“The scariest moment is always just before you start.  After that, things can only get better.”

Humbly yours,
Day Al-Mohamed, Bloghost
Unleaded:  Fuel for Writers

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