About half of these relate directly to revision. The other half cover the intangiblesattitude, discipline, work habits. First write for yourself, and then worry about the audience. When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story. The passive voice is safe. The magic is in you. Read, read, read. Turn off the TV. You have three months.
There are two secrets to success. Write one word at a time. Eliminate distraction.
1. Stop watching television. Instead, read as much as possible.
Stick to your own style. Take a break. Leave out the boring parts and kill your darlings. You become a writer simply by reading and writing. Writing is about getting happy. Writing is magic, as much as the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink. Would you like to support the mission of Open Culture? Or sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox. We're hoping to rely on our loyal readers rather than erratic ads.
To support Open Culture's continued operation, please consider making a donation. We thank you! I love you Mr. King I am your constant reader!!! I have all your books my daughter and brother are constant reader er too. My brother is an artist he painted bother it. Hi mr king Along time ago you answered a question.. I still have not tackled my story yet but I know I must do it..
I do want to thank you for answering my question and for all the interesting nightmares you wove so intricately in my dreams After reading some of your books. They fed my imagination.
Thank you.. Used to think he was a good writer.. Now I see how childish he really is. He can join the rest of the mob of progressives that have infected Hollyweird, that I totally ignore now. Movies today are nothing but propaganda vehicles.. They have ruined not only movies but comedy, so called journalism, and definitely the music industry.
Trump is a breath of fresh air, but he would have to be Hercules to hold back the army of perverts that are assaulting this great nation. Midterms are coming! Prepare yourselves for more disappointment, Progressive morons.
It will get ugly. While Mr. King aptly and poignantly makes a great point about use of adverbs, and there are some great points about the passive voice made by Mr. As one example of how that comes across as amateurish, see: Mr. I mean, if those sorts of dull shills who buy into that crap dislike him so much, then I feel obliged to defend him.
So, all hail the genius of Stephen King!!! Bravo, Steve! In other words, you misinterpreted what he was saying. I used to think that Steohen King was a great writer too. Ever notice how he overplays his hand, he goes on and on after the story already has lost its steam. And if a writer really needs King to tell him to turn off the TV then hes not a writer anyway. Also when it comes to the horror genre there are plenty better writers out there , ones that dont steal their ideas from Matheson and Bradbury. Some sage, straight-forward advice on the craft of writing from one of my favorite authors of horror fiction!
The opening line in the first of your stories that I read pulled me out away from shore, unmoored in the mist. Later on, Sagas of the wasted lands and doorways that open and close. But I know there are other worlds than these….
Also, anyone familiar with Stephen King knows he primarily writes horror and so that is the audience he is addressing. You will probably find those comments more compatible to your liking. Great points! However, making money from my writing makes me a lot happier than not. Thank you S. King, I lost the ability to use my visual imagination when reading after a head injury. Reading is always a strong foundation for much in life. And to the commenters throwing shade on Stephen King, consider this: with words alone, Stephen King has entertained, terrified, provoked, comforted, energized, inspired, and stimulated the minds of billions of people; introduced some of the most iconic characters, settings and stories in pop culture; provided the source for some of the greatest movies ever made; and influenced generations of writers, filmmakers, artists and thinkers all over the world.
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Until then, take a seat. Talk about easy and predictable reading. Meldie — With all due respect, you comment is basically a bandwagon fallacy, followed by an argumentum ad populum, followed by an appeal to accomplishment. Stephen King writes pap. I did read — to make a clean breast of it — a King piece about Little League baseball that The New Yorker published in the early nineties. It annoyed me somewhat that The New Yorker, where I had once worked, had resorted to publishing celebrity millionaire writers, possibly in order to seem populist and with it, but the fact was that, at least based on this piece of nonfiction, King wrote pretty well, if no better than any number of nameless scribes who were also Little League dads.
Was I simply an elitist, anti-populist literary snob who felt he would be soiled by reading stuff that sold? I was mildly addicted to detective novels, though I was not the type to read them compulsively, filling a sitting room wicker basket with them, knocking off two or three Graftons or Parkers in the course of a rainy five-day stay on the coast of Maine.
During a rainy five-day stay on the coast of Maine, I might read one Rendell or one P. This was a good two decades before it became hip to include genre writers in the American Lit syllabus. When I read comic books, they were more likely to be the ones about Archie and Veronica than those about the gifted caped-and-body-stockinged figures that boys with bristly imaginations were supposed to gobble up. I would keep my raffine literary nose out of books of pulp. He was doing fine, turning out a book a year up there in Maine, hauling the proceeds to the bank in steamer trunks.
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Around the turn of the century, I became aware of the fact that King had complained — or was it his publicists and friends who had complained on his behalf? Look at the horror stories of Edgar Allan Poe, it was said.
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Poe was an American classic, and so, his new literary friends seemed to suggest, was King. In , the National Book Foundation gave King its annual medal for distinguished contribution to American letters. I stuck to my snobbery. And then one day King came up in the course of a discussion my wife and I had about my own writing — which she found to be a little dark and not really, if I understood her, something she wished to curl up with at night.
We talked about why people read the fiction they read. My wife, who works in the medical field, made the perfectly valid point that not everybody reads fiction for the reasons I read it. A great book of fiction will lead me toward some fresh understanding of humanity, and toward joy. I did feel, however, that I demanded something different something more? Not that this made me morally superior, just more demanding, a high-maintenance reader. Was it possible that Stephen King was as good as Diana Abu-Jaber, a writer hardly known beyond the ghetto that American literary fiction seems to have become?
I slept fitfully that night, dreamed a recurrent dream about a car repair shop whose employees were straight out of some noir pulp novel and to whom I seemed to be forever indebted, due to bad driving habits or moral failings. And then one weirdly warm January day in Wisconsin, I found myself in the King section of a bookstore, where a good twenty-five of his fifty or so books were on display. I picked the one that I thought my New York editor friend had recommended twenty-five years ago, the one about the demonic car.
The worst book reviewers, as John Updike noted, often blame writers for failing to write the novels that the reviewers believe the writers should have attempted rather than the ones that actually lie between the covers. After reading the first sixty-five pages of Christine , I thought that if King had intended to write a literary novel, he was failing. At the very least, I thought, a genre writer as good as King would keep the scenery flying by the window.
I read another fifty pages. The story gathered a little momentum, while at the same time the cheesiness increased. Why, I wondered, had my editor friend fallen for this not very good novel? If the introduction suffers from the self-regard of a writer pondering his greatest hits, the novel itself is a step up from Christine. It is competently made, in a way that is workmanlike, if hardly fresh or exciting. And perhaps if you are lying on a hospital bed without anything to read, a little dizzy from pain meds, and if a friend brings you this book to pass the time with and if you are able to get past the first hundred pages the pacing is, once again, off , you might have the kind of reading experience my editor friend had.
Much slack is cut for the somewhat better samples of schlock. I remember recommending to others, thirty-five years ago, the early stories of Ann Beattie published in the mid-seventies mostly by The New Yorker. They were flat and drab. We make mistakes, and we change, too, as readers, over time. I liked the title — I am a baseball fan — though I wondered how many readers diehard Red Sox fans aside picking up the book in would recognize the name Tom Gordon a.