Interview: Stephen King on the Creative Process, the State of Fiction and more

Yesterday I read a pretty good Q&A interview with Stephen King, or “Uncle Steve” over at The Atlantic.  It was conducted by James Parker. It can be found here.

A few quotes of note:

Stephen King: In the old days, it would seem like ideas were crammed in like people in an elevator. And my head was sometimes a very noisy place to be. The other thing that happens with that is, say you’re working on something and it’s going along pretty well, and two or three ideas occur, and they’re all yelling “You should write this! You should write this!” It’s almost like being married and all of a sudden your life is full of beautiful women. You have to stay faithful to what you’re working on. But it can be uncomfortable.

James Parker: So do you keep them in a different file, or …?

SK: No. I never write ideas down. Because all you do when you write ideas down is kind of immortalize something that should go away. If they’re bad ideas, they go away on their own.

JP: So this awful thing of the writer who goes, “Oh, I had a great idea but I forgot it!” –you don’t really subscribe to that.

SK: No. Because that wasn’t a great idea. If you can’t remember it, it was a terrible idea.

The King
That part about staying faithful to the first idea? Yeah, I’m just as guilty. And he’s absolutely right about good ideas sticking around in your memory and the bad ones evaporating in the ether. When I don’t have a chance to jot down a good idea and I forget it, it eventually returns via some trigger or other. I can only think of two times when I failed to recall a good idea.

But…perhaps those were no good afterall.


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