Notes from Stephen King’s On Writing

image from
Simon and Schuster

If you write, read this book. Seriously, if you write anything at all — memoir, romance, horror, essays or nonfiction or whatever — read this book. Advice and wisdom on strategies, plotting, grammar, and dealing with rejection — this book has it all. And no matter your opinion on Stephen King, I can’t say enough about the practicality and inspiring aspects of On Writing, other than just to read the damned book.

Key points from On Writing:

Finish a novel in 3 months – just one season – or it will feel like dispatches from a foreign  consulate.

Write 2000 words a day.  Every day. Even on Christmas and your birthday, just keep writing.

Grammar is as grammar does, check the guides, but don’t be afraid to strike out on your own.

Remove excess words, which is ironic advice from someone who writes 200,000 word novels.

Beware the adverb, or your prose will slip silently beneath the murky waters of insipidness.

Active voice is your man.  Passive voice and clichés are something good writers should avoid like the plague.  And sentence fragments too.  Unless you’re using them for emphasis.

Use words that matter.  Avoid vague descriptions of stuff.

Bottom line: keep on writing, even when it feels like you’re shovelling shit from one pile to another. And especially then. Just keep moving forward.