Lessons Learned #23

Show, don’t tell!

Yesterday I found an article via Twitter from ‘Now Novel‘ entitled ‘7 Must-Obey Rules for Writing Dialogue.’ You can find it here. It is a very interesting article, so go ahead and read it. For me, the rule that interested me most, and hasn’t let go of me since, is rule No.3, called ‘Use implications and hidden meanings.’ It basically says ‘show, don’t tell.’

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Ever since I started writing a year ago, this sentence kept popping up: ‘show, don’t tell.’ At first I found this so strange. Aren’t writers ‘telling’ a story? How can you ‘show’ something on paper. But I thought I understood what they meant so I started describing scenes and thoughts in my novel. I told the reader the colour of the wallpaper, described what the weather was like, and what my main character (MC) was thinking. Those kind of things. I really didn’t get it.

Then a few months ago I did an online course in which they showed us a piece of text of Graham Green. I’m sorry, I have no idea from which book it is, but here it is:

I got to think, he repeated to himself. I got to think. He opened the street door and went out. He didn’t even wait to fetch his hat. His hair was thin on top, dry and brittle under the dandruff. He walked rapidly, going nowhere in particular, but every road in Brighton ended on the front. I’m too old for the game, I got to get out, Nottingham;

In this piece of text the MC is not described as such. It doesn’t say ‘The man is anxious and old, with hardly any hair.’ It isn’t ‘told.’ Instead we, the readers, are being made aware of the appearance of the MC with little snippets of information strewn throughout the text. Yes, some bits are described as such, but of course there is no other way. This is not a movie, you’ve got to write it down somewhere. But the text is not a continuous stream of information, the reader ‘has to work’ to get it. This intrigued me big time.

And then I read Rule No.3 yesterday. As the title of the article implied, it was about dialogue. I hope I am not plagiarising now, but I need to show you what it says to explain my lightbulb moment. The following two pieces of text are the examples that they give you, first what not to do and then what you could/should do. It was a true eye opener for me.

“Ever since your brother, Richard, invented the invisible ray, people have been disappearing in enormous numbers!” Blanche exclaimed.

“Have you heard from Richard?” Blanche asked.
He shook his head. “My brother and I don’t speak much.”
“Not even after—?”
“Especially not then.”
Blanche said softly, “All those people.”
“Have you finished running the reports?” he asked.

The first thing that jumps out in the first piece of text is, of course, the mentioning of the brother’s name, Richard. You would assume that the guy knows the name of his brother, so mentioning it is superfluous and if you think you need to remind the reader you assume the reader is stupid. Big mistake.

What struck me most though was the way things were hinted at, insinuated, in the second piece of text. The first piece is a typical example of ‘telling.’ All the information is given to the reader on a plate. You don’t need to think about it, but at the same time you get no information about Richard’s brother, or his relationship with Richard either. The second piece of text is far more interesting and, to be honest, also more ‘normal.’ Sentences are short, not always finished and insinuate information that has already been given to the reader earlier, no need to repeat it. And instead of ‘telling,’ it is ‘showing.’ Not so much in descriptions of a visual nature, but in the actions and words of the characters.

When I thought about it and started to apply this ‘show, not tell’ to my own novel, that I am re-writing at the moment, I ran into a problem. I was cutting almost half of my text. First of all I was scrapping almost all adverbs. Ouch. I had worked so hard to find the right ones. Then I found that I had to scrap a lot more as a lot of text was superfluous, I didn’t need to repeat what I had already mentioned a page ago. I was getting scared now. Would I have a novel left over when I finished?

This example above, however, gave me new hope. As you can see, the second piece is a lot longer than the first piece of text. Next to this it is a far more pleasant read and provides far more information to the reader than the first one. So this is definitely the way to go. It’s just going to take ages to figure out how to apply it to my own story.

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What you also need to keep in mind is that with ‘showing’ it may take a while before the reader gets the whole picture of the MC. Dropping little bits of information about his/her character takes time and you need to keep in mind that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Giving little snippets of information will keep the reader interested though, giving the reader little hints of why your character does what he/she does. So they will read on, wanting to find out more and more about the MC’s history, to be able to figure out his/her way of thinking and actions. That’s what’s making your character interesting and will keep your reader entertained. And that’s what you want…

Have a Happy Writing Weekend!

Movie Review: Jason Bourne

Score: 8/10

– Spoiler Alert! –

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It wasn’t the first session that was on today, but I had to see this movie on the day it was released. The trailer was extremely good and although I don’t like watching trailers (they always show the good bits), I couldn’t get enough of this one. Particularly the bit when Matt Damon floors his fight opponent in one hit 🙂 .

After filming the first three Bourne books, written by Robert Ludlum, Matt Damon passed when they offered him the role for the fourth instalment. He said that Bourne knew who he was now and the story had ended. Jeremy Renner took the role (and did a good job) whilst Tony Gilroy co-wrote the script with his brother and directed this movie. That movie had indeed nothing to do with the Bourne series and the reviews were very mixed. For me it was the pills (that took centre stage in The Bourne Legacy); they were never mentioned in any of the first three Bourne movies.

Matt Damon only returned to the screen as Jason Bourne as Paul Greengrass, director of The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum, found a way to bring Jason back. The bigger-picture/storyline is believable, although there are a lot of ‘yeah right’ moments. This seems to be unavoidable in Hollywood movies nowadays. Greengrass has done an excellent job in getting everything on screen and the flow is perfect. Even the fighting scenes and chases are easy to follow.

Matt Damon is looking good, as per usual, actually looking extremely buff this time. The fact that he’s getting a bit older doesn’t mean he’s getting any less fit. Julia Styles plays Nicky Parsons again. The notable new faces are that of Tommy Lee Jones, very accurately portraying the grumpy old CIA director Dewey who is out to kill Bourne, and Alicia Vikander as Heather Lee, the CIA agent in charge of finding Bourne. I have mixed feelings about the role of Lee, as she, like Joan Allen as Pamela Landy in the previous instalments, is the only one that thinks Bourne is not back to cause damage. Was the role written for a woman to keep the feminist audience happy (this is after all the age of girl power), or is it suggested that women have a less aggressive streak, are more diplomatic, and/or see the best in people? I still haven’t made up my mind on this one, but neither seems like a good option to me.

Like I said, there were a lot of ‘yeah right’ moments. One of them being a miss in the make-up department. At some stage Bourne nearly gets strangled, but when he takes the cord off his neck there is not one mark in sight. Big faux pas, guys, you should read up on your forensic science. Excellent work on the other bruises though 🙂 .

The movie seems to be an endless stream of violence, from the beginning to the very end. All well thought out action sequences and the Las Vegas scene is quite spectacular (it was mentioned that they didn’t ask permission for filming this scene, so if anybody knows the truth, please let me know). There wasn’t a lot of blood visible throughout the movie, even when people are shot they keep moving with only ‘wet patches’ visible.

What bothered me was that there is absolutely no remorse for the taking of lives that happens left, right, and centre, at the hand of ‘the asset,’ played by Vincent Cassel. Yes, it is a hired killer that does the killing, but apparently he can put aside his emotion when killing, but not tuck away his lust for revenge on Bourne. And yes, I hear you say, it is after all a Bourne movie, but remember the first instalment, The Bourne Identity, where Jason Bourne fails his mission because he refuses to shoot a man in front of his children. That’s why we fell in love with him, because throughout the film his humanity became stronger than the killer they made him. That’s the sort of movie we need again, especially in this day and age.

I give it an 8/10 for the directing, cinematography, the special effects (chases) and for Matt being one of my favourite actors.

Check out my Writers’ Corner update 27/07/2016

Check out my Writers’ Corner update 27/07/2016!

Movie Review: Star Trek Beyond

Score: 7/10

– Spoiler Alert! –

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Star Trek Beyond, the latest movie for trekkies. What is my verdict? I thought it was a nice movie, definitely to be seen on the big screen, but (and there is always a but) a bit weird.

This movie was written by Simon Pegg and Doug Jung. I don’t know Doug Jung, but it doesn’t matter as the movie had Simon Pegg written all over it. It started with Captain James T. Kirk recording his ship’s log. Normally this is a formal statement, not this time. The captain mentions the crew’s relationships. As far as I know this far more personal than any log entries I have heard before (although I must admit I don’t know them by heart). There were far more (obvious) jokes placed all over the script, another of Pegg’s comic streak. And, most noticeable of all, Scottie (played by Pegg) had far more screen time than in any of the other movies.

Another weird thing was that Hikaru Sulu all of a sudden appears to have a male partner (and daughter). It was on Twitter big time. Apparently this was never written in the script by Gene Roddenberry, the original creator. Even thought George Takei, who played Sulu in the original series and who became a LGBT activist after the original series ended, didn’t like this idea, Pegg went ahead with it. I don’t think it’s a big deal, just weird as it was never mentioned before and might upset some girls who had a crush on him.

Plot wise; yes, it was entertaining. There was some ‘growing’ of characters. Flow wise, not so good. Given that they only had three and a half months to write the script I let them get away with it. There were a bit too many ‘yeah, right!’ and ‘what the…’ moments in it for my liking though. Watching the movie made me think of Inception, Elysium, and Ender’s Game (2013). The first two because of the scenery, the latter because of the insect-likeness of the enemy. If you’ve never seen that movie, watch it as it is one of the best movies I have seen lately. It features Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley and a great performance of Asa Butterfield.

What I didn’t like was that in the old series Kirk always gets the girl. Not so in this movie, Kirk doesn’t get Jayla, nor any other girl. Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Uhura (Zoe Saldana) have quarrels, but at the end sort of patch up again. I still think it is also weird for Spock to have a relationship, that was never in the original series either. Another ‘twist,’ although this time not of Pegg’s making.

The make-up for Sofia Boutella (formerly known as ‘Gazelle,’ the bladed prosthetic legged lady in Kingsman) was absolutely spectacular. The poor girl had to sit in the make-up chair for four hours everyday, not a simple feat. But it was worth it. Idris Alba’s make-up felt more like a mask, turning him into the villain Krall. It probably was, as he was hardly recognisable and only visible as his gorgeous self at the end of the movie.

The music was okay. Strangely enough, the enemy vessels all get obliterated by listening to some heavy metal music. The idea was to distract the hive formations, but apparently the music had more effect that this. It was one of the ‘what the…’ moments.

I’d like to mention that I always liked Anton Yelchin in the role of Chekov. His passing away (after the movie was made) is a great loss and I find it appropriate that they have decided not to recast him for the fourth Star Trek film.

Did I enjoy it? I sure did. It is definitely a movie to watch on the big screen, if only for the amazing space footage shown after the movie has ended. I give it a 7/10.

Meeting Ian Rankin

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After a suggestion by one of my film crew colleagues (thanks, Andy!) I bought tickets to see an interview with Ian Rankin, writer of the Rebus detective series. It was organised by the Dickens Fellowship and was focussed on the book Bleak House by Dickens. Rankin was interviewed by James (Jim) Naughtie, Aberdeenshire born and bred radio and news presenter for the BBC. I had never read any books from Ian Rankin, but I remember having seen some of the series when John Hannah played the role of Rebus. I liked him and the series.

To be prepared for the meeting I bought the book ‘Exit Music’ by Ian Rankin, in which detective Rebus has to solve a murder ten days before he is due to retire. As expected I didn’t get far, I only read the first thirty-seven pages. I also bought the whole works of Bleak House, by Dickens, but didn’t even attempt to open that one. I hope to have the time one day. I did learn about Rankin’s writing in those few pages though. He is a master of ‘setting the scene,’ in particular one in Scotland. From the few remarks and casual observations you can place yourself in the scene and know what it would be like to actually be there. He mentions Edinburgh street names (which I did look up on Google Maps) that exist. When in a restaurant he orders venison pie (where else would you have venison pie but in Scotland?!). From using only two words, claustrophobic and damp, you know exactly what the office of the pathologist is like.

During the interview it was nice to find out that Rankin is like any other writer. He has a beginning and possibly an end to a story, but he has no idea what is going to be happening in between. Sometimes he even doesn’t know who has committed the murder. Sometimes he does, but during his writing process this changes. Likewise with his characters. Some sideline characters become major players and more prominent ones get ‘killed off.’ When Rebus ‘retired’ his publisher suggested Rankin to write about when Rebus was younger. Rankin’s answer was no, because he doesn’t write historical novels as this would need ‘too much research.’ I so concur with this 🙂 . Another option was to ‘stop the time,’ where Rebus would not get older. But Rankin also refused this as he thought that was cheating. As there are many more Rebus books after ‘Exit Music’ I can only deduct that Rebus didn’t retire.

After half an hour of talking together, discussing the work of Dickens and comparing his work to that of Rankin, the audience was able to ask questions. One person asked if and for what Rankin wanted to be remembered, like Dickins is remember after so much time has passed. Rankin responded that the only contemporary writer that would probably be remember was J.K. Rowling. Which makes you think if there really are no other worthy authors to remember out there at this day and age. I suppose the surplus of indie authors make it hard to find the good ones, like a needle in a hay stack.

I did get the microphone to ask a question, but unfortunately the session was cut off just as it was my turn. I had so many questions to ask! If Ian ever gets to read this, maybe he will grace us with a bit of his time and answer the following questions:

  • Why did you start writing? Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? Do you think your university education made a big difference in your work?
  • Do you follow your tracks through the city to make sure they are accurate or do you sometimes do it from memory? If the latter, have you ever been caught stating something that was inaccurate?
  • How did you get published? Was it hard to find a publisher? What did you have to do after finding a publisher? How much time do spend writing nowadays compared to promoting?
  • Where do you get your ideas? Do you have friends that are forensics or detectives?
  • When your books were made into a series, did you write with the actors in mind? Did you have any say in which actor was used?

All in all a great experience! Thanks, Ian, for dropping in on Aberdeen 🙂

Lessons Learned #22

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Edit, edit, edit!

I started re-writing my first novel last week. Finally. I had postponed it way too long, but now I have the Winterland book fair as a stick behind the door I had to do it. And boy, did I need to…

Time between edits

They always say to take some time between edits. They never say for how long though. Well, that’s not entirely true, they do suggest lengths of time, but they all vary. So that’s no help at all. I wrote my first novel in August 2015, as good as a year ago. For me, at this moment in time, that is a good time between edits. Only because of the fact that during this year I have learned an enormous amount of English! I had a steep learning curve in grammar, in particular the (past) tenses. I learned about rhetoric. I learned about punctuation and formatting. I learned about  the three-act structure and character building. I learned about sub-plots and suspense building. I learned so much. I suppose that the length between edits will become less in time, as I (hopefully) will learn to write better from the start.

Kill your darlings

So what have I been editing so far? As I may have mentioned before, I have let go of the chronological timeline. The first seventy pages of my book were information dumping and setting the scene. I learned that readers don’t like this. They want action, murder on the first page so to speak. So in the new version I started the story from where things start to happen. Now I had seventy pages of information that I needed to weave into the new structure. Seventy pages of ‘darlings.’ I managed to incorporate some flashbacks as whole chapters. That was the easy way. Half of what was left I managed to put in here and there, also as flashbacks or thoughts, memories, but shorter ones. I still have 2.5K words left over, so still some work to be done as some of those are important information for the story. I can’t ‘kill’ them.

Talk to yourself

Other edits were re-writes of sentences. I haven’t been re-writing scenes as a whole, as I was quite happy with them. Quite a few sentences needed revising though. They didn’t flow well or they didn’t convey the feeling that I wanted them too. Over the past year my vocabulary has grown and I feel that I can express myself now better than before. It’s still no literature, but a shuffle in that direction I suppose. How do I know a sentence doesn’t flow? Because I notice it when I say them out loud, in my head. Gotcha! No, I can’t make myself talk to myself out loud. So I pretend I’m doing it in my head. Works for me. I pretend to have another person’s voice, like that of David Attenborough, and read as if I was reading for an audio book, full of emotion and ups and downs of my voice. You should try it, its fun 🙂 !

Grammar, Punctuation and Formatting

I’ve got ProWritingAid to help me with the grammar, which will help me pick out those odd sentences, re-usage of words in a paragraph and the true grammatical mistakes. I haven’t used it yet, as I still have one last chapter to get through, but this is next on the ‘to do’ list. I will keep you updated on this one.

And there are the punctuation mistakes. Even though I had my work read by a proof reader, I still picked up the odd mistake here and there. We’re only human, so I will throw my work through Grammarly for that. It should be better than any human eye. This will be done after using ProWritingAid. Maybe it’s not necessary after this, but just to make sure (it’s free anyway).

Then I will have to put my text into Word to re-format. I don’t mind doing this. As I suspect I have an OCD streak in me, I like making things ‘smooth.’ I don’t like it when things ‘stick out’ and spoil the overall look. I’m actually looking forward to this part!

Print and Read

After the formatting is done I will print out my work; two pages on one A4 sheet, 1.5 space in between and narrow margins (to save paper). This will show me any formatting errors. I will read my work from front to back, with a red pen in hand to make notes and corrections.

Re-edit

And after I have finished this… I will start all over again!

Have a Happy Writing Weekend!

Check out my Writers’ Corner update 20/07/2016

Check out my Writers’ Corner Update 20/07/2016!

The Stuff Nightmares Are Made Of…

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Last night I had a good night’s sleep. For a change. The night before had been terrible. I had fallen asleep and had all sorts of nightmares. In the end, at 2am, I decided to pick up my mobile phone and play some games until I was too tired to keep my eyes open. Fortunately I can’t remember dreaming after that.

How does this affect my work? Well, I have a new book idea! And the title could be ‘500 Ways for your children to die after they leave the parental nest.’  A bit long perhaps, but that’s what my dreams were about. In the book you could describe all sorts of strange and stupid ways in which your child could perish. From crossing the road (this nearly happened to us in Edinburgh; I was nailed to the ground when my daughter decided to ignore a red light and the car only stopped a few mm’s in front of her), to drowning whilst swimming outside the flags on an Australian beach (this nearly happened for real to yours truly), to being chased by five drug lords on as many continents, to snorting keyboard cleaner from a spray can (fortunately I have no close up experience on those last two scenarios). I could tell you some more ideas, but I’m not writing the book here.

I don’t think I will ever write the book, to be honest. It’s too close for comfort at the moment with my kids only being a few years away from that crucial moment where I have to let them go and trust that I have taught them enough about telling and doing right from wrong. So maybe one of you would want to write it. It could be a manual to give to your kids when they go out into the big bad world. A guide to ‘what not to do.’ It may even be written in a funny way. But a good lesson nevertheless.

In the mean time I’ll try and sleep a bit better knowing that I still have a few years to go with my kids under the same roof as me.

Movie Review: Ghostbusters

Score: 7/10

– Spoiler Alert! –

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I was weary about seeing Ghostbusters. I had heard very mixed reviews. I did stay awake this time ( 🙂 ), but it wasn’t the movie I had hoped it would be.

There is a strong ‘you go girl’ message in this movie, which I have mixed feelings about. Yes, it is unfortunately still necessary in this day and age and I am all for it, but, like I said for Ice Age 5, the message was put on too thick. They put Chris Hemsworth in as the ‘typical dumb blond,’ which was a funny twist, but very over the top and extremely unbelievable.

The cast of girls was a nice mix, of all sorts of colours and sizes. I thought the role of Kate McKinnon was a bit strange as she hardly speaks in the first half of the movie and then words pour out of her that most people won’t understand. Melissa McCarthy was funny, but I have seen her in funnier roles. I think this was a missed opportunity for the screenwriters.

The flow of the movie was not as smooth as it could have been. There were a few points where I caught myself thinking ‘how is this possible?’, ‘where are we now?’ and ‘where did those come from?’ I think flow issues are the biggest culprits of lowering the overall believability of a movie. Everything could be fine, but if the flow isn’t there it takes you out of the scene and back to reality. Not good. At the end of the movie there is a gag reel with Chris Hemsworth doing some dance moves that are copied by a crowd. Something must have gone wrong as the set up was there in the movie, but then nothing was done with it.

 Cg was okay, but nothing special. A lot of the same ghosts flying around, nothing new really. And the fact that a ghost got defeated by pricking it with a knife… Sorry, that just didn’t make sense.

Music was good I must admit. The old ‘Who you gonna call’ theme was incorporated here and there and suspense was built up with music (sometimes to no effect at all though, but that’s normal). No new catchy theme, which is a shame.

I was hoping there was going to be some reference to the old (male) ghostbusters in the movie, but nothing as such. Yes, there was a reference towards the location of the old ghostbusters team, but it wasn’t mentioned that there had been ghostbusters before. I suppose that for the new generation this doesn’t matter as they don’t know the old ghostbusters. But for us ‘oldies’ this is a bit of blasphemy. That said, there were some fun cameo roles that were worth seeing.

Overall nice entertainment, nothing new, not as funny as expected. I give it a 7/10.

I write like…

I just did a fun ‘test’ online. You put in a bit of your writing and they tell you which famous author your work most resembles. Apparently I write like Ian Fleming, the author of all the James Bond novels.

Here’s what they wrote about Ian Fleming:

About Ian Fleming

Ian Fleming

Ian Lancaster Fleming (28 May 1908 – 12 August 1964) was an English author, journalist and Naval Intelligence Officer. Fleming is best known for creating the fictional spy James Bond and the series of twelve novels and nine short stories about the character. Fleming was from a wealthy family, connected to the merchant bank Robert Fleming & Co. and his father was MP for Henley from 1910 until his death on the Western Front in 1917. Educated at Eton, the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst and the universities of Munich and Geneva, Fleming moved through a number of jobs before he started writing.

The Bond books are among the biggest-selling series of fictional books of all time, having sold over 100 million copies worldwide. Fleming also wrote the children’s story Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang and two works of non-fiction. While working in British Naval Intelligence during the Second World War, Fleming was involved in the planning stages of Operation Mincemeat and Operation Golden Eye, the former of which was successfully carried out. Fleming was also involved in the planning and overseeing of two active service units, 30 Assault Unit and T-Force.

His experiences of the people he met during his wartime service provided much of the background and detail of the Bond novels and his career as a journalist added colour and depth to the stories. In 2008, The Times ranked Fleming fourteenth on its list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945”.

The only comparison I can see between us is the university education and the number of jobs before starting writing. It’s only wishful thinking that my work will be turned into such successful books and movies.

Go one, do the test too, you know you want to! Just go to: http://iwl.me. And let me know who you write like…

Update 1: I just took another part of my text and did the test on that. Apparently this part was more like Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight series (which I have devoured big time).

Here is what they say about her:

About Stephenie Meyer

Picture of Stephenie Meyer

Stephenie Meyer (née Morgan; born December 24, 1973) is an American young adult author and producer, best known for her vampire romance series Twilight. The Twilight novels have gained worldwide recognition and sold over 100 million copies, with translations into 37 different languages. Meyer was the bestselling author of 2008 and 2009 in America, having sold over 29 million books in 2008, and 26.5 million books in 2009. Twilight was the best-selling book of 2008 in US bookstores.

Meyer was ranked #49 on Time magazine’s list of the “100 Most Influential People in 2008”, and was included in the Forbes Celebrity 100 list of the world’s most powerful celebrities in 2009, entering at #26. Her annual earnings exceeded $50 million. In 2010, Forbes ranked her as the #59 most powerful celebrity with annual earnings of $40 million.

Again, there is this movie link. It’s a sign!

Update 2: Sorry, couldn’t resist, had to put in another piece of text. These pieces are all from my first book, but are all different type of scenes. The second one a love scene, this last one a funny scene. This time they came up with Stephen King! It must have been because I used the word ‘suckers’ in this piece of text and was immediately linked to the king of paranormal 🙂 .

About Stephen King

Picture of Stephen King

Stephen Edwin King (born September 21, 1947) is an American author of contemporary horror, suspense, science fiction and fantasy. His books have sold more than 350 million copies and have been adapted into a number of feature films, television movies and comic books. King has published 50 novels, including seven under the pen-name of Richard Bachman, and five non-fiction books. He has written nearly two hundred short stories, most of which have been collected in nine collections of short fiction. Many of his stories are set in his home state of Maine.

King has received Bram Stoker Awards, World Fantasy Awards, British Fantasy Society Awards, his novella The Way Station was a Nebula Award novelette nominee, and his short story “The Man in the Black Suit” received the O. Henry Award. In 2003, the National Book Foundation awarded him the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He has also received awards for his contribution to literature for his whole career, such as the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement (2004), the Canadian Booksellers Association Lifetime Achievement Award (2007) and the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America (2007).

Conclusion: For some people this test is very consistent. For me it, apparently, is not. I must admit that I love all sorts of books, I don’t read just one genre and I watch a myriad of movies (anything that moves, really). It seems that this is reflected in my writing style; you write what you read/view. No wonder I have such difficulty putting my books into one category…