Stephen King Lessons

Stephen King on Writing… I’ve read it a few times now and I just want to share my favorite quotes from the book along with some of my own revelations!

(1) When you write the story, you’re telling yourself the story. When you rewrite, your job is taking out all the things that are not the story.

(2) Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.

(3) Stopping a piece of work just because it’s hard, either emotionally or imaginatively is a bad idea. Sometimes you have to go on even when you don’t feel like it.

(4) Construct your own toolbox and then build up the strength so that you can carry it. Then, instead of looking at a hard job, and getting discourage, you’ll seize the correct tool and get back to work.

(5) Filter out distractions, listen to music. It surrounds me, keeping the mundane world out. Shut the door.

(6) Write what you like, then imbue it with life and make it unique by blending in your own personal knowledge of life, friendship, relationship, sex and work. Especially work. People love reading about work for some reason.

Some some examples on how to stop using cliche phrases:

“It was darker than a carload of assholes.”

“I lit a cigarette that tasted like a plumbers handkerchief.”

(7) The key to good description begins with clear seeing ends with clear writing, the kind of writing that employs fresh images and simple vocabulary.

(8) I think the best stories always end up being about people rather than the event, which is to say, character driven.

(9) If you write a novel, you owe it to yourself to step back and ask yourself why you bothered? What’s it about? 

(10) When you write a book, you spend days and weeks scanning and identifying the trees. When it’s done, you have to step back and look at the forest.

Number 10 especially hit home because I do the opposite. I try to be very broad when I write the first draft and hit those plot points first and then go down to a personal level, which is bad because plot change on the decisions of the characters. it’s very arrogant of me to assume that I know the story before I even wrote it.

(11) After you’ve finished your first draft (or whenever), you step back and let it rest and work on something else. You are not ready to go back to your old project until you’ve gotten so involved in the new one that you’ve forgotten how hard you worked 

(12) The most import things about backstory are that everyone has a history and most of it isn’t interesting. Stick to the parts that are and don’t get carried away by the rest.

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