About Me

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I am an aspiring writer living and working in Hull. I working on a novel, as well as writing short stories to keep my writing skills fresh. I decided to start a writing blog to connect with other writers. So please, take a look around and leave some comments - I'd love to read some of your writing blogs too. Nari X

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

The Shining

Yesterday, I stood in front of a mirror wearing the actual dress that I will get married in. It was a very bizarre moment. I am in love with the dress, I'm so glad I chose it. I would post a picture, but I'm keeping it a secret from Rob until I'm walking down that aisle. Oh but it's amazing. We've been looking for Bridesmaid's dresses too, and have seen some gorgeous ones.

I finally finished The Shining after three library renewals and a surprisingly low number of sleepless nights (I'm a grown up now, apparently). I thought I would share my thoughts and first impression of Author Stephen King, as this is the first time I have read any of his work. I'd avoided him firstly because I used to be a wimp with this stuff, and secondly because I had a preconceived idea in my head that anyone who churns out as many books as that in such a short time can't put any real care into them. I saw him as trash fiction in the horror genre. I was wrong.

I get the impression he has put a lot of thought into these characters and their backgrounds and motivations. One thing my sister and I discussed was that he seems to have whole chapters of pure back story and character reflection, which is a risky business. As writers, perhaps we forget that not everybody is as interested, at least not yet, about the characters we write. I know I'm guilty of it. However, Stephen King does this well, without breaking the tension or the flow of the story. It is because of these moments of reflection that the reader begins to hope that everything works out alright (apparently this is not a real word. Who knew.) for the characters. Needless to say, it doesn't. 
I would say that I'm a fairly good judge for this, as I am in incredibly impatient reader. I will only be impressed by or even get through a long chapter or paragraph that has no dialogue or not much actually happening if I am already hooked and care about the characters. In this case, I was. 

The characters are well developed, the relationships between them are very well depicted, and Danny, in my mind the central character, is portrayed particularly well. He has managed to capture the voice and mindset of a five year-old by who has seen too much very well.

There is a moment at the end, which (gruesome as various things are in this scene,) was perhaps my favourite part in the book; where Danny has that moment of understanding. His parents are not invincible. They cannot save him from this. He has to think carefully and has a moment of complete maturity where, with his life hanging in the balance, he appeals to his father's love, his father who is still in there somewhere. In this moment, he is the one being rational, and showing an intense amount of love where it is not obvious or at all easy. 

Overall, a very compelling read, a great ending, certainly not disappointing - it fitted well for the amount of build up given. The point is I ended up really caring what happened to these characters. I want that.

In my own writing news, all I can say is, though it is not in the Oxford English Dictionary, 'AAAARRGH'. You got the condensed version. I'm ploughing on with the final chapters, but meanwhile have shown some previous scenes to Rob and realised there are so many gaps of things I have written in my head, but not on the page. We'll get there. But I can;t believe it's taking so long.

I've just been reminded we are going out for dinner tonight, which I had forgotten and so had a Madison's lunch. Madisons make the best sandwiches in town. Subway, move over. Seriously. They pack the filling in til it's absolutely stuffed. Delicious. Bring out the Rennies, I think...


  1. I have been a reader of Stephen King books for a long time, but I had never gotten round to The Shining - perhaps because I'd seen Jack Nicolson doing it and didn't need to read it. Anyway, I'm now making my way through it and loving every minute. The writing is, as you say, top quality. If you want other examples of King writing at his best, I'd suggest his short story collections.

  2. Congratulations on your wedding! I'll be getting my dress fitting in July - I can't wait.

    I've never read The Shining before, but I have read The Green Mile. it's not as scary, but very compelling (and can make you cry as badly as its movie would!) I'm considering Carrie as my next King Novel - the film made me really feel for her.

    It's great when you get very attached to characters. The Shardlake books by C.J Sansom have that effect on me. The main character, Matthew Shardlake, is so captivating there are moments in all of the books where I want to jump in and defend him! The end of the first book, Dissolution, left me so upset I had to read some Terry Pratchett until I calmed down!

  3. MCR - I tried to watch the film with some friends at a party that was going wrong (we ended up locked in the host's bedroom, hiding from waterguns filled with TCP...). Needless to say, not a lot of it went it. That was a long time ago now. I want to see if Blockbuster have it. Thanks, I'll look into his short stories.
    HCC - Thanks, and congratulations to you as well :) My sister recommended The Green Mile to me, so I will definately give it a go.
    I have only Revelation, I think, in the Shardlake series, and I really want to read through them. I certainly do now you've said that. Maybe the others will go on my Christmas list...
    Nari X

  4. Oddly enough, Revelation was my first Shardlake book as well. I was lucky enough to get them all for Christmas (they were 3 for 2 at waterstones) and I'm glad they did. Be warned that Dark Fire is a very sinister story, but an utterly fantastic read.

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  6. Hi Nari / Liz (I'm confused)

    Came across your letter in Writers' Forum mag looking for fellow writers-with-blogs. I'm always on the look-out for other struggling 'artistes' like myself, to share the joys and frustrations of our chosen art. 

    I'm Paul, a novelist and screen writer and i generally use my blog ( to commentate on the goings on in the writing world around me (and sometimes the weather), laugh at myself and others and occasionally pat myself on the back (if I dont do it, shur who will?)

    So drop by for a visit and feel free to comment on anything that amuses/entertains/bothers you (I'm always open to some healthy debate). 

    Happy writing!
    Paul the Writer

  7. Hi Nari,

    I love Stephen King. I have just read his book, 'On Writing'. I haven't read many books about writing but this is a must-read. He's amazing. 'The Stand' in particular is incredible.

    I too saw your letter in Writer's Forum and thought I'd pop by to say hi. I'll add you to my reader and keep an eye on what you're up to. If you fancy doing the same my blog is at I know sometimes it's good to feel like you're not just talking to yourself.

    Good luck with the wedding btw. So exciting! I'm just coming up to my 2nd anniversary and I'm still over-excited about being married!


  8. Looks like I'm making the 'writer's forum' hat trick here! Saw your letter and thought I'd take a look.

    As it turns out, the first post I read is something close to my heart, a certain Mr King. The Shining i an incredible book. I dont think any of his older stuff makes a wrong step. Just avoid 'Cell'. The Dark Tower Series I can't recommend highly enough.

    And hope the final chapters of the book are going well!

  9. Hi Nari,

    I also saw your letter in 'Writers Forum.'In fact it was seeing your blog that inspired me to start my own, (please come and say hello).

    I notice from your profile that you live in Hull so I was wandering if you know of any writing groups or meetings in the Hull area?

    Good luck with the rest of your book.

  10. Hi Nari.
    Yet another response to your letter in 'Writers' Forum'. I've just spent a fair part of my evening reading your blogs from the first onwards. I'm pleased to see you now have a following.
    I started my blog a couple of days ago. Pleased I did too.
    My own book has been going on for years which is just as well because as writers we're always learning. Don't be in a hurry to complete. From what I've read on here you may have set yourself too tight a deadline. It would be better not to force your own hand. If I had achieved what you have already I would be tempted to write out a synopsis of each chapter - say, a single side of A4 each. Judge what is the beginning, middle and end. Staple those pages into three distinct groups, then revise them one at a time - with no reference to the other two.
    I'm no expert, it's just an idea.
    If you'd like to increase my viewers from nought to one please try using my URL.
    Good luck with your writing. You sound genuine.

  11. Gosh, you've all come flooding! Welcome, welcome :)
    Thank you everybody for dropping by.
    Paul: to clear up on the confusion, 'Nari' is simply my webname. I've used it since I was a forum geek, and it kind of stuck.
    Chloe: Thanks and congratulations on the two years :)
    Craig: Cheers, I will look into the Dark Tower series.
    Adam: I am indeed in (not from, I hasten to add) Hull, have I met a fellow? The only thing I know of in the area is a book club held at Fudge Cafe on Princes Avenue, and I think Hull Truck Theatre runs some sort of writing group. I shall do some research and let you know. My feedback was always from the University, and I have to say I'm missing my classes greatly.
    Tom: Thanks very much for your advice, I will definately try that. I've had a look at your blog and posted a comment - I shall have a read through your work this week.
    God bless you all.
    Nari X