5 Of Stephen King’s Rules For Writers

in Life/Win by

The amazing writer and storyteller Stephen King wrote a manual called On Writing with rules for aspiring writers. Here are just a few of those.

1. Write For Yourself.

King says:

“When you write a story, you’re telling yourself the story. When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story. Your stuff starts out being just for you, but then it goes out.”

Stephen King meme
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2. Avoid Passive Voice.

Passive voice is a sentence structure in which the subject is being acted upon by the verb. One example would be, “The boy was bitten by the dog.” The better way would be to use active voice, which would sound like, “The dog bit the boy.” King says:

“Timid writers like passive verbs for the same reason that timid lovers like passive partners. The passive voice is safe.”

3. Avoid Adverbs.

Adverbs are used to modify verbs. One example would be, “He closed the door firmly.” It’s not a bad sentence, but is the word, “firmly” really neccessary?

4. Read!

King says:

“You have to read widely, constantly refining (and redefining) your own work as you do so. If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.”

5. “The Magic Is In You!”

King says:

“I’m convinced that fear is at the root of most bad writing. Dumbo got airborne with the help of a magic feather; you may feel the urge to grasp a passive verb or one of those nasty adverbs for the same reason. Just remember before you do that Dumbo didn’t need the feather; the magic was in him.”

stephen king writing meme
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Featured image by Stephanie Lawton via Flickr, available under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

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