“Every year my son Owen and I have a bet on the NCAA March Madness Tournament, and last year the stakes were that the loser would have to write a story [with a title] the winner gave to him. And I lost.” — Stephen King, on the origin of his new short story, “Herman Wouk Is Still Alive.”
“This always happens in the same place,…in the middle of the book. ‘What was it you wanted me to do?’ seems to be the question my characters ask, and when I tell them, they become skeptical. Since I trust characters over plot every time, I tend to listen when a character tells me ‘I wouldn’t do that kind of thing.’ And the middle of the book is always where they seem to doubt their motivation. There’s a name for this. It’s called the mess in the middle.” — Brunonia Barry, putting a name to the thing we’ve all experienced.