It’s no secret… Stephen King is my favorite author and I just don’t see that changing any time soon. Now, it doesn’t mean I love everything he writes, because I don’t. However, I do love most of it!
The thing is, Stephen King is the author that made me first fall in love with reading. It was his books that got me through not only my youth but also some pretty tough times in my life. Lonely times.
So, as an author myself, I often turn to my “mentor” and seek his guidance. I ask WWSKD – What Would Stephen King Do? I’m actually thinking about getting #WWSKD bracelets made… I wonder if other authors think the same thing. Maybe I should start a club… I digress.
Stephen King has written at least 90 books… probably more. Check out his online library HERE! His books have sold more than 350 million copies. AMAZING, right?! It doesn’t matter if you love them, like them or even hate them, you have to admit 90+ books is impressive. He has even written the manual on writing… literally! In his book, On Writing Stephen King shares all his thoughts on writing including his ‘rules’ which he admits, like most authors, even he breaks from time to time too.
He also shares a lot of advice for aspiring writers. I’ve picked some of my favorite quotes and shared them here:
- “You don’t need writing classes or seminars any more than you need this or any other book on writing. Faulkner learned his trade while working in the Oxford, Mississippi post office. Other writers have learned the basics while serving in the Navy, working in steel mills or doing time in America’s finer crossbar hotels. I learned the most valuable (and commercial) part of my life’s work while washing motel sheets and restaurant tablecloths at the New Franklin Laundry in Bangor. You learn best by reading a lot and writing a lot, and the most valuable lessons of all are the ones you teach yourself.”
- “While to write adverbs is human, to write ‘he said’ or ‘she said’ is divine.”
- “Language does not always have to wear a tie and lace-up shoes. The object of fiction isn’t grammatical correctness but to make the reader welcome and then tell a story… to make him/her forget, whenever possible, that he/she is reading a story at all.”
- “Timid writers like passive verbs for the same reason that timid lovers like passive partners. The passive voice is safe. The timid fellow writes “The meeting will be held at seven o’clock” because that somehow says to him, ‘Put it this way and people will believe you really know. ‘Purge this quisling thought! Don’t be a muggle! Throw back your shoulders, stick out your chin, and put that meeting in charge! Write ‘The meeting’s at seven.’ There, by God! Don’t you feel better?”
- “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.”
- “A radio talk-show host asked me how I wrote. My reply—’One word at a time’—seemingly left him without a reply. I think he was trying to decide whether or not I was joking. I wasn’t. In the end, it’s always that simple. Whether it’s a vignette of a single page or an epic trilogy like ‘The Lord Of The Rings,’ the work is always accomplished one word at a time.”
- “There should be no telephone in your writing room, certainly no TV or videogames for you to fool around with. If there’s a window, draw the curtains or pull down the shades unless it looks out at a blank wall.”
- “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.”
- “If you’ve never done it before, you’ll find reading your book over after a six-week layoff to be a strange, often exhilarating experience. It’s yours, you’ll recognize it as yours, even be able to remember what tune was on the stereo when you wrote certain lines, and yet it will also be like reading the work of someone else, a soul-twin, perhaps. This is the way it should be, the reason you waited. It’s always easier to kill someone else’s darlings that it is to kill your own.”
- “Mostly when I think of pacing, I go back to Elmore Leonard, who explained it so perfectly by saying he just left out the boring parts. This suggests cutting to speed the pace, and that’s what most of us end up having to do (kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your ecgocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.)”
- “Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Writing is magic, as much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink.”