Writers Can Learn A Lot From Writing Tips Offered By Stephen King


Horror writer extraordinaire, Stephen King, has been around the proverbial block more than enough times to know what it takes, what works and what doesn’t when it comes to being a writer. He was kind enough to share some of his experience and insight into the profession in his 2010 memoir, On Writing.

There are a ton of invaluable tips and tid bits of advice for writers and it was nearly impossible to pick just a select few to cover today. After much consideration we were able to narrow down what we found to be incredibly useful information for our writer readers.

In his book, King said “I can’t lie and say there are no bad writers. Sorry, but there are lots of bad writers.” Well, he has a point…a blunt point, but a point all the same. So, with that in mind, here are some of our favorite tips from the “King of Horror”:

  1. Put down the remote and pick up a book.King calls television the “poison to creativity” and he’s pretty much spot on. TV is known to suck out the imagination and dull the senses, which are two very important things to writers. He suggests doing away with the TV and picking up a book instead.Reading allows you to constantly learn and challenge your brain. This continuous challenge will help you grow as a writer and will often spark creative inspiration when it’s needed the most. “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all other: read a lot and write a lot,” he says.
  2. Don’t shy away from editing.Cutting out bits and pieces of your writing is a rather hard part of the job, but an unavoidable one. King tells writers to, “Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.” You heard him, folks! Don’t be afraid of the delete and backspace keys.
  3. Cut yourself off from external distractions when writing.“Write with the door closed; rewrite with the door open,” King says. That sounds about right to us, too. Nothing can jam a writers creative flow quite like a heap of distractions. Writing is an internal activity that often requires the writer to sink into a zone that needs to be maintained.The best way to stay in the zone is to tuck yourself away in a corner without your phone, access to any social media sites and a note on your door asking for privacy.

    The writing process is intensely private for a lot of writers, so stay true to your needs any way necessary. King has his own unique process that he describes as “completely raw, the sort of thing I free to do with the door shut – it’s the story undressed, standing up in nothing but its socks and undershorts.”

  4. Adverbs and long paragraphs should be avoided like the plague.King has a special disdain for adverbs, which he often likens to dandelions that are prone to ruining your lawn. He says that “the road to hell is paved with adverbs.” Basically he thinks that adverbs are best left behind in a lot of cases.Long paragraphs often tend to ruin all a writers hard work, too. The size of the paragraph is best left to the small side and should ebb and flow in all the right ways. A paragraph that is too long can be a turn off for readers. Short, rich paragraphs are the way to go and will keep your readers engaged.
  1. Perfect the art of description, but don’t give away too much.

    There is a fine balance between giving the reader enough to fuel their imaginations without doing all the work for them. You want to write things that will trip the sensors in the minds of those partaking in your story. Tripping the imagination sensor just right and you’ve got one much needed area of your story covered.

    King writes, “In many cases when a reader puts a story aside because it ‘got boring,’ the boredom arose because the writer grew enchanted with his powers of description and lost sight of his priority, which is to keep the ball rolling.”

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