Here’s a Quick Way to Write a Letter to a Famous Author

On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
One of my assignments from our last dream meeting was to write a letter to Stephen King.

It sounded like a great idea at the time, though I think the wine may have influenced my mood.

It has been about month since our last meeting and I realized I had not completed this assignment.

Today I sat down and wrote that letter.

In doing so I discovered a few things you should do before you begin the letter–

1. Have an address to mail the letter. It may feel good just know you wrote the letter but it doesn’t really mean anything until you mail it. It may take a little time and digging but eventually you will find something.

2. Write a list of all the things you don’t want to say. If you have a specific tone you don’t want the letter to have, write that down here too.  You really don’t want your letter to sound whiny or accusatory. Refer to this list often.

3. Make a list of what you do want the letter to say. What message are you trying to get across?  Is this a thank you letter? Some kind of request? Writing that down will help you stay on point.

4. This is the most important  – Write It! Just sit down and write the letter.  It really is the only way it is going to get done.

Below is an excerpt from the letter I wrote.  I was trying to avoid cheesy and I didn’t want to ask the man for anything. Although I have to admit I did mention my killeryarns site.  I hope I succeeded.

Dear Mr. King,

I am not writing to ask you for anything.

I swear.

My name is Dawnda Schaefer and I have a dream to be a writer.  I have no doubt that you have heard that a gazillion times but please don’t stop reading just yet.  I am a member of a group called 8 Women Dream (8WomenDream.com).  The group is made up of 8 women (bet you could have figured that out) that all have a dream.  We encourage one another to reach our dreams by being supportive and honest and then poking and prodding until we are so annoyed we complete our assignments.

One of my assignments is to get out of my own head and write to you. You, or I should say your writing, has been the subject of a few of my posts on our site — I hope you don’t mind.  I enjoy your writing so much that I find myself trying to write in a similar fashion.  It doesn’t always look that way on paper but I swear it sounds like it in my head.

I want to thank you for providing so many hours of entertainment.  Yes you scare me but honestly you make me laugh hysterically which scares my husband.  Entertainment provided for all.

One more step down the road of my dream life.  It doesn’t matter if he never responds back.  What matters is that I did it.

Dawnda

(Dawnda rotated out of the 8 Women Dream group in 2009 to work on launching a new business and go bak to achool for her accounting degree)

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  • Kim, the traveler

    Good for you! I’m sure he’ll be happy to read it.

  • Wendy

    Great Letter! I am looking forward to hearing about a response. I never thought about emailing. I did write a letter last year to my favorite living artist Wayne Thiebaud. I had a hard time finding an address and ended up finding his son who owns a gallery in SF and asked him if I could mail the letter to him to pass on. He was very nice and said he would.

  • Catherine

    lol I love the letter. He should get a good laugh – who could resist you?

  • Suzanne Lorenz

    After going to some writers workshops and seeing how generous published authors are, I started e mailing authors after I finished a book I particularily liked. Its amazing that every single person e mailed me back with thanks. I think authors are more accessable that we think. I have just published our first book, and it’s pleasure to answer someone who e mails me as well.

    • Dawnda

      That is really good to know – I guess I thought they would get so much mail they would never take the time to reply. Thanks for sharing that with me it will make my next task easier.
      BTW – Would you mind sharing with me what workshops you have been to? And if there are any you particularly recommend?
      I would also love to hear your story on how to get published.