Secret windows essays and fiction on the craft of writing
As King emphasizes several times in his memoir, "the adverb is not your friend.
Secret Windows: Essays and Fiction on the Craft of Writing
Adverbs are worst after "he said" and "she said" — those phrases are best left unadorned. You should also pay attention to your paragraphs, so that they flow with the turns and rhythms of your story. According to King, writing is primarily about seduction, not precision. The important part isn't writing enough, but limiting how much you say. Visualize what you want your reader to experience, and then translate what you see in your mind into words on the page.
You need to describe things " in a way that will cause your reader to prickle with recognition," he says. The key to good description is clarity, both in observation and in writing. Use fresh images and simple vocabulary to avoid exhausting your reader. The former is not.
If you need to do research, make sure it doesn't overshadow the story. Research belongs "as far in the background and the back story as you can get it," says King. You may be entranced by what you're learning, but your readers are going to care a lot more about your characters and your story. The people in your stories are what readers care about the most, so make sure you acknowledge all the dimensions your characters may have.
First and foremost, stop using the passive voice. It's the biggest indicator of fear. Writers should throw back their shoulders, stick out their chins, and put their writing in charge. If it works, fine. In his eyes, substance-abusing writers are just substance-abusers. As King says, "You can't aim a book like a cruise missile.
An important element of writing is transference. Your job isn't to write words on the page, but rather to transfer the ideas inside your head into the heads of your readers. In his advice on writing , Vonnegut also recommends that writers "use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
As writer Susan Sontag says , "The story must strike a nerve — in me. My heart should start pounding when I hear the first line in my head. I start trembling at the risk.
Secret Windows by Stephen King, Essays
I begin to lose my hold on the story's plot and pace. If you fail to write consistently, the excitement for your idea may begin to fade. When the work starts to feel like work, King describes the moment as "the smooch of death. King likes to write 10 pages a day. Over a three-month span, that amounts to around , words. If you spend too long on your piece, King believes the story begins to take on an odd foreign feel.
King suggests six weeks of "recuperation time" after you're done writing, so you can have a clear mind to spot any glaring holes in the plot or character development. He asserts that a writer's original perception of a character could be just as faulty as the reader's.
King compares the writing and revision process to nature. Screw-ups happen to the best of us. When revising, writers often have a difficult time letting go of words they spent so much time writing. But, as King advises, "Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler's heart, kill your darlings. Although revision is one of the most difficult parts of writing, you need to leave out the boring parts in order to move the story along. In his advice on writing , Vonnegut suggests, "If a sentence, no matter how excellent, does not illuminate your subject in some new and useful way, scratch it out.
King attributes his success to two things: his physical health and his marriage. It's important to have a strong balance in your life, so writing doesn't consume all of it. In writer and painter Henry Miller's 11 commandments of writing , he advises, "Keep human!
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See people, go places, drink if you feel like it. Search icon A magnifying glass. It indicates, "Click to perform a search". Close icon Two crossed lines that form an 'X'. It indicates a way to close an interaction, or dismiss a notification. Business Insider. Stop watching television. Instead, read as much as possible.
Prepare for more failure and criticism than you think you can deal with. Don't waste time trying to please people.
Stephen King on how to write - Business Insider
I purchased 'On Writing' by Stephen King a few years ago and loved the book. As a followup to 'On Writing' I decided to purchase this book. This book takes the subject in a different but equally important direction because he speaks about the genre of horror fiction and allows us to explore the how and why of great writing. King and other very successful writers in his genre use and utilize them in my own writing. After reading this book, I went back to my own first drafts and completely rewrote them. I may never be published but this book has aided me in being a better writer and has helped me get one step closer to a readable product.
It has helped me sharpen my skills and occupies an important space on my book shelf. I read On Writing and loved it.
This book, not so much. It gets very tedious in places. I usually devour books and I'm having a hard time getting through this one. I would recommend On Writing over this book. One person found this helpful. Better than expected! Awesome Stephen King. First I read "On Writing" and loved it, and so decided to read this book too, and I'm really enjoying reading these essays and various non-fiction items from SK. Funny how these were compiled only in a Book-of-the-month book and not published otherwise.
Be aware that if you have already read "Danse Macabre", there is a fairly long section in this book pages out of total which is excerpted from DM. It's funny too how I haven't read any SK fiction books and I'm embarrassed to say that but am thoroughly enjoying what he has to say about horror and writing from a non-fiction perspective. I think it's because I tend to read late at night and scary stuff is just way too scary for me to read when it's dark out.