Thursday, June 04, 2015
Writing advice from Stephen King made the Internet rounds recently,
and I think it's worth passing along to my readers. In "Everything You
Need to Know About Writing Successfully - in Ten Minutes", King
introduces his topic twice. (To see why he does this, you'll have to
follow the link.) His second introduction ends as
I am going to tell you these things again because often people will only listen -- really listen -- to someone who makes a lot of money doing the thing he's talking about. This is sad but true. And I told you the story above not to make myself sound like a character out of a Horatio Alger novel but to make a point: I saw, I listened, and I learned. Until that day in John Gould's little office, I had been writing first drafts of stories which might run 2,500 words. The second drafts were apt to run 3,300 words. Following that day, my 2,500-word first drafts became 2,200-word second drafts. And two years after that, I sold the first one.King goes on to elaborate on the twelve points listed below:
So here it is, with all the bark stripped off. It'll take ten minutes to read, and you can apply it right away ... if you listen.
- Be talented.
- Be neat.
- Be self-critical.
- Remove every extraneous word.
- Never look at a reference book while doing a first draft.
- Write to entertain.
- Ask yourself frequently, "Am I having fun?"
- How to Evaluate Criticism
- Observe all rules for proper submission.
- An agent? Forget it. For now.
- If it's bad, kill it.