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Stephen King

May 9 2016

So You Want to Write a Book!

by Jencey G

How many of you have on your bucket list publishing a prize winning book? Where do you begin? What are your next steps?  How do you start a manuscript and see it through to the end that includes publication?  What makes for good plot and character development? Or just a good story?

The library can help.  One way to do this is to visit the experts.  You can attend programs at Georgia Center for the Book.  There is usually at least one program each week with many different authors and genres represented.  There almost always is a question and answer session at the end of the author’s talk for those with writing questions.

The next option would be to attend a writer’s group program at one of our many branches.  These groups can provide accountability and or work on skills that help progress your writing.  There are groups that have met at our locations at Wesley Chapel- William C. Brown, Stonecrest, Clarkston, Dunwoody, among others.  Some branches have speakers that come and focus on a certain skill in writing.  We had a program at Clarkston about the psychological effects of characters within your writing. Dunwoody has had a gentleman who comes and helps you work on the tools of writing.

There are many books that are perfect to help you wiJanet Evanovichth your writing and are also available on audiobook.   They may also be available in e-content as well. Your favorite authors get asked questions all the time about writing.  Janet Evanovich is one of those authors who has written a book about her writing process and the publishing field.  You can find, How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author at DCPL. I found it to be insightful.  One of the most recommended is Stephen King On Writing, A Memoir of Craft.  There are books available that focus on plot, character development, or how to read as a writer.

Please visit the catalog and see what can make writing your manuscript happen.  Please also visit the events page on the DeKalb Library website.  Maybe I will see you at a Georgia Center for the Book program!

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Jan 25 2016

The Things That Scare You…

by Dea Anne M

And I hope that title doesn’t scare anyone out of reading this post! I’m thinking about scary books today because of an article on the site Bustle called “11 Books That Scared the Master of Horror…” with said Master of Horror being no less an expert than the author Stephen King. Some of the titles fall squarely within the horror genre (although that category encompasses many different types of styles and stories in my opinion) while others might seem a bit surprising, Big Little Lies and The Girl On the Train among them. In any case, it’s a thoughtful and unusual list from a writer I’ve always found more deeply thoughtful than many people give him credit for being. Of the 11 titles, DCPL owns the following:

headfullofghostsA Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

You: A Novel by Caroline Kepnes

Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

The Girl On the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Accident: A Novel by Chris Pavone

The Killer Next Door by Alex Marwood

Considering King’s list unleashed some memories about books that have scared me in the past, let me hasten to add here that I am one of those people who love being scared–not, of course, in real life and by things that are genuinely frightening–but through books or movies. If you’re that kind of person yourself, then you know what I’m talking about. If you aren’t that sort of person, then you may find this preference completely baffling–but I’m willing to bet that you know more than one person like me…maybe even your own partner or child!

What scares me in a book or movie? Well, gore and slasher epics leave me a little cold. Nor do zombies or vampires give me that delicious tingle of fright (while ensconced on my perfectly safe living room couch of course). I generally hate the sort of movie, or book, where the menace just won’t stay down and keeps popping up again and again. My private name for that sort of conclusion is “The End…or is it?”

I think the scary books that I have found the most effective are those in which the menace can’t be seen and either never really reveals itself or when it does it’s simply too late. I have read many, many books in my life, but of the stories that have really and truly scared me only three stand out. All three of these had me sleeping with my lights on for many nights in a row and, to be honest, I don’t think that I want to go back and re-read any of these again. Even for me, they were far too scary. Given, I was a teenager when I first experienced them. Still, I think I’ll play it safe and let them stay on the shelf for others to experience in their own way.  They are:

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty – a very scary novel which also explores questions of faith in a surprisingly deep fashion.

In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences by Truman Capote – a classic of true crime writing and completely chilling. Capote transcended the genre with this one and the story of his writing the book is as fascinating as the book itself.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson – mesmerizing and unsettling in a way that more overt attempts at horror will never approach, this is an utterly singular novel.

Are you a fan of scary stories too? What are some of your past and current favorites?

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Apr 23 2012

The Wind Through the Keyhole

by Jesse M

In the late 1970s, acclaimed author Stephen King began work on a series of interconnected stories which would eventually become his magnum opus: The Dark Tower series. Comprised of seven installments written over the course of 4 decades, The Dark Tower is a heady mixture of genres, incorporating elements of fantasy, horror, western, and science fiction literature. The universe in which the tale is set features references and allusions to many of King’s novels, including Salem’s Lot and The Stand, among others.

In 2004, after the publication of the 7th (and ostensibly final) novel, it seemed that the epic tale was finished. But the characters and story continued to linger in King’s mind. In a 2009 interview, King stated, regarding the Dark Tower series, “It’s not really done yet. Those seven books are really sections of one long über-novel”, and mentioned that he had an idea for a short story which would become the basis for a new Dark Tower novel. The novel would take place in between the fourth and fifth installments and serve to bridge the narrative gap between them.

That new novel is The Wind Through the Keyhole, and it is slated to be released tomorrow, April 24th. DCPL has ordered 30 copies and you can reserve one for yourself here. Additionally, if you’re new to the series or just need a refresher, DCPL has all of the previous installments available in our catalog (beginning with The Gunslinger).

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Sep 21 2011

Spine-tingling fiction…then and now

by Dea Anne M

September 21st is the birthday of Stephen King, arguably the world’s most widely recognized author of horror fiction. Since the publication of Carrie in 1974, King has published many horror novels, novellas, and short stories as well as fantasy and non-fiction. His work overall is characterized by “everyman” type characters and is particularly sympathetic toward children and adolescents. I haven’t read a Stephen King book in quite awhile, but I was a big fan at one time. I think The Shining is one of the most effectively frightening tales that I have ever experienced and I have a particular weird fondness for King’s epic, almost painfully  earnest, story of good versus evil The Stand ( I’ll even occasionally sit down and re-watch the 1994 television mini-series based on the book starring such 90’s luminaries as Gary Sinise and Molly Ringwald…a  little over the top, but fun!).

Are you a fan of the horror genre looking for something new? Here are some fresh voices you might consider:

Allison Hewitt Is Trapped: a zombie novel by Madeline Roux features a bookstore clerk/graduate student heroine who, while trapped by zombies at her place of work, begins a blog to try and connect with the outside world.

Another zombie story, Raising Stony Mayhall by Daryl Gregory is the tale of how the title character, an undead infant, is rescued and reared by a human family and finally comes of age to explore and embrace his heritage.

Hater by David Moody is, according to the Publishers Weekly starred review, a “nail-biter” of a debut novel and concerns a regular working guy attempting to keep his family safe in a world gone mad with a violence-inducing virus. A film version is currently in the works and is supposed to be directed by Guillermo del Toro of  Pan’s Labyrinth fame.

On the YA front, White Crow by Marcus Sedgewick tells the story of sixteen- year-old Rebecca, her new friend Ferelith, and their exploration of a remote village’s sinister history. According to Booklist “This book is one thing very few YA novels are: genuinely scary.”

Finally, my own favorite horror offering of the past few years has got to be Justin Cronin’s The Passage. Emotionally nuanced (Cronin has previously published literary fiction) and told in an epic style reminiscent to me in some ways of The Stand, the story concerns the human survivors of a man-made plague attempting to survive in a world populated by “virals” or “dracs.” These vampires are not the the brooding teenagers of Twilight or the alluring undead of the Sookie Stackhouse series. This novel is, in my mind, completely original and highly recommended.

 

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Jun 1 2011

Perilous devotion

by Dea Anne M

I’ve become hooked on the HBO series A Game of Thrones which is based, of course, on the first book in the wildly popular epic fantasy series A Song of Fire and Ice written by George R. R. Martin. My fellow blogger Jesse has posted here before on the excellence of Martin’s work and I have to say that  I am now looking forward to reading the books myself.

So what’s it like to be the creator of such a beloved series of books? Maybe the title of this post overstates the issue, but the New Yorker recently ran an interesting article about George R. R. Martin and his unique relationship with his fans. The devotion of of Martin’s readers has inspired such actions as naming children after characters in the books and establishing series related blogs  (like this one featured in Jesse’s recent post).  The series, originally planned as a trilogy, is now supposed to ultimately encompass seven books. Four books have been published already and a fifth volume,  A Dance With Dragons, will be appearing on July 12th this year.  Given the passion with which some readers regard A Song of Fire and Ice added to the fact that the previous title in the series, A Feast for Crows, appeared in 2005, it might not be surprising that some readers behave in a fashion that might seem a little…unhinged. Apparently, Martin has received unpleasant comments when he has posted about sporting events or vacations on his blog and there are a few blogs run by disaffected fans including one called Finish the Book, George.

How far will readers go to make their displeasure known and to what lengths will writers go to keep fans happy?

In 1893, Arthur Conan Doyle, who wanted to devote more of his time to historical fiction, “killed off” Sherlock Holmes. The outcry from fans of the intrepid detective was so great and prolonged that Doyle finally brought Holmes back to life in the 1901 short story “The Adventure of the Empty House” (included in The Complete Sherlock Holmes).

In 2008, fans of Stephanie Meyers’ extremely popular Twilight series were so disappointed with the final book, Breaking Dawn, that calls went out for readers to return books to their point-of-purchase place as a form of consumer protest. Meyers’ reaction on her website was a fairly sensible (to me, anyway) statement  “In the end, it’s just a book.”

In 2002, Maori novelist Witi Ihimaera, author of The Whale Rider,  began re-writing five previously published novels because he felt that they did not accurately reflect the political realities of the time in which they were set. He guaranteed to pay refunds to any reader unhappy with the new version of a title. As of the summer of 2009, he had paid out $673.

Finally who could forget the ultimate dissatisfied fan, Annie Wilkes? Memorably played by Kathy Bates in the 1990 film Misery based on Stephen King’s novel by the same name, Annie’s deadly antics as a novelist’s “number one fan” could chill the blood of even the most stalwart of writers. It’s enough to make you think twice about killing off a character…or even approaching the keyboard at all!

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