Reading “Stephen King – On Writing”

stephen king at his desk with his dog close at his feet
book cover “Stephen King On Writing”

“Stephen King On Writing” is part memoir and part guide for writing fiction. It is widely recommended for writers. As a big fan of Stephen King and new to writing, I found it both informative and entertaining. It is written in three parts. Parts 1 and 3, he writes about his life, interspersed with writing advice. In part 2 he delves into how-to-write,

There are so many key elements, thoughts, suggestions and advice, it was almost overwhelming, but impressive. So impressive that I now own the hardcover and an annotated e-book. Following are a few of the basics that I highlighted:

Read More to Write More

By reading what others have written you will be able to recognize the mediocre and the downright rotten. Then you will recognize it when it creeps into your own writing. Reading is the creative center of a writer’s life.

To Write Well, Practice

Observe people, listen. Incorporate into your writing.

Set goals. Start small. Build a habit. One word at a time.

Find your space. Eliminate ALL distractions. Stay until done.

Show Don’t Tell

Writing is telepathic. Describe just enough so the reader can see, feel and touch using their imagination. Book buyers want a good story.

Tools for Writing

On grammar, King suggests, “either you know it, or you don’t.” Besides, “fiction isn’t always grammatically correct.”

Don’t try to enhance your vocabulary. Write the first word that comes to mind.

Use language that is plain and direct; if it’s colorful and appropriate, write it.

It is not necessary to attribute a piece of dialog if you know who is speaking. Limit the use of “He said,” or “She said.”

Rewrite

When your first draft complete, put it away. Forget it and work on something else. Come back in a few months for a fresh new perspective. If you don’t like what you wrote, fix it in rewrite.

In Closing

My mind is overwhelmed now, so filled with thoughts and ideas that I need to organize. I would love to hear from you. Do you agree with King? Do you have any other suggestions for a new aspiring writer?

I will continue to practice writing on this blog and hope you will follow along. Comments and suggestions ae always appreciated.