Tag Archives: Horror

THE SHINING by Stephen King

I do not read horror, because I don’t like it. But I read Stephen King’s THE SHINING, because I’d read his book ON WRITING and I wanted to see what he was like as a writer.

I can’t say that I enjoyed reading it, because explicit scenes of death and destruction just don’t appeal to me. But I could see what a good writer King is. I was surprised to see how much his technique of suspense rests of foreshadowing. Much of this comes from the point of view of Danny, the 5-year-old son of Jack Torrance, who signs on to be the housekeeper of the Overlook Hotel one winter. Of course, Danny can’t understand what his gift “the shining” shows him. So the foreshadowing is necessarily blurry and vague. But that is what drives the novel, of this scared young boy seeing things he can’t understand. Throw into the mix a recovering alcoholic with a dangerous temper, and you have great material for conflict. But King doesn’t stop there. His imagination soars as we gradually realize that the hotel is a personage as well.

If you are a horror aficionado, and you’ve never read this, you owe it to yourself to do so. Five stars.


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Websites for workshopping your manuscripts

It is so hard to get quality feedback these days. Editors and agents are too busy to give it to you, and so you are forced to rely on the good nature of friends or relatives, or the people you happen to run into when attending a writing group.

My experience with writing groups has been mixed. In the beginning, when i was a brand-new writer, I found them enormously helpful, because I had so much to learn. Now that I have 2 novel-length MSS under my belt, I find them less helpful, because most of the people who show up are typically beginners with an incomplete first draft that needs some TLC. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you are a more advanced writer, you need more help than that kind of person is typically able to give you.

I’ve written before about joining book clubs, and how helpful that can be. I now want to mention a couple of sites that are designed to help writers workshop MSS.

The first one is Critters, which is for “serious writers of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror” to quote their website. To read more, click here.

The second one is Historical-Fiction-Writers-Critique-Group, which is a Yahoo! group. To belong to this group, you have to be extremely dedicated, because you are required to critique 3 MSS a month. This is a group I would love to belong to, but don’t because I can’t make this commitment. However, if you are in a position to do this, and you have a completed MSS that is ready for feedback that is a historical, you should definitely check it out. Click here to find out more.

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–Cynthia Haggard writes novels.  She is currently seeking representation for HE MUST BE SOMEONE,  a novel about identity, forbidden love and family secrets. For more on her creative writing, go to spunstories. (c) 2011. All rights reserved.

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Filed under How to Publish Your Novel