Monday, October 22, 2012

Starting A Small Fire

These is a moment in Stephen King's Misery when the main character, a writer called Paul Sheldon, is trying to solve a problem with his novel. His main character has killed someone in a cinema and needs to get away with the crime for a while before getting caught. Paul is trying to figure out how to make this happen in a plausible way.

Eventually he thinks 'Suppose the character starts a fire?'

He decides it will work.

Since then, starting a fire has been my go-to solution for every plot problem that comes up. It rarely helps me, because very few of my novels have scenes where it would work, but I always advise people to have their characters start a small fire.

At various times, I suggested it to all three other members of my old writing group. The final time, I had to preface it - 'I really don't wish to sound obsessed, but could they perhaps start a small fire?'

I'm not sharing this for any reason except to clarify that a) I am not a pyromaniac in real life, only in other people's books, and b) to  point out that every writer is crazy in their own special way.

Happy Monday!

1 comment:

  1. It's been a long time since I've read that book!

    In my solo work, I started a very, very, very big fire at the heart of the novel.

    In the work I do with my writing partner, starting a fire wouldn't be quite right... though a fire in a fireplace would suit the genre quite well!


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