On Writing

That’s the title of a book by Stephen King.  It is, of course, about writing.

I’ve been learning quite a bit from it.  On characterization:

“The writer’s original perception of a character or characters may be as erroneous as the reader’s.”

On grinding through it:

“…Stopping a piece of work just because it’s hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea.  Sometimes you have to go on when you don’t feel like it, and sometimes you’re doing good work when it feels like all you’re managing to do is to shovel #$%@ from a sitting position.”

On editing:

“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.”

Good writing consists of mastering the fundamentals:

  • Vocabulary
  • Grammar
  • The Elements of Style
  • Avoid adverbs
  • Avoid passive voice

King writes 2,000 words a day.  Ouch.  Makes my 360 last night feel pretty pathetic!

Anyway, it’s a pretty useful and interesting book and I highly recommend it.



2 thoughts on “On Writing

  1. My husband got me “On Writing” for Christmas last year and I gobbled it up. I thought it was excellent. King really gives writing a conquerable/casual approachability, and the biographical interest was cool too. …Interestingly, it’s the only book I’ve read by him.

    I saw you attended Pgh Bootcamp. Did you make it to this weekend’s Pgh Podcamp 2?

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