On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King · Book review

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As someone who has only read one of King's books (the one on JFK's assassination) and is currently not aspiring to be a fiction author, I don't think I was the target reader for this book.

Some of the writing tips from King:

  • Read a lot (King reads 70 - 80 books a year) especially in the genre that you want to write in
  • Write a lot. King was submitting short stories from a young age.

Note that for both of the above points, the author doesn't consider them to be "chores" but finds them genuinely enjoyable (i.e. don't become a fiction author if you don't love every minute of it).

  • Have a set schedule - King spends each morning writing until he is finished
  • Write in a room with the door. The room should be free of distractions, and you shouldn't leave the room until you've reached your goal e.g. 1000 words.
  • The second draft should be 10% shorter than the first draft.
  • Have an "ideal reader" in mind when writing. King uses his wife.
  • Steer clear of adverbs and try and use mainly "he said, she said" in dialogue. The context should be what's getting your point across and thus making the additional adverbs/ different verbs redundant.
  • Use active voice, not a passive voice, because it sounds better.
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