Steven King’s Top 20 Rules for Writing.

I borrowed this post from Open Culture’s webpage. All of these were taken from Stephen King’s 2000 writing guide On Writing.

1. First write for yourself, and then worry about the audience. “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.”

2. Don’t use passive voice. “Timid writers like passive verbs for the same reason that timid lovers like passive partners. The passive voice is safe.”

3. Avoid adverbs. “The adverb is not your friend.”

4. Avoid adverbs, especially after “he said” and “she said.”

5. But don’t obsess over perfect grammar. “The object of fiction isn’t grammatical correctness but to make the reader welcome and then tell a story.”

6. The magic is in you. “I’m convinced that fear is at the root of most bad writing.”

7. Read, read, read. ”If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.”

8. Don’t worry about making other people happy. “If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered, anyway.”

9. Turn off the TV. “TV—while working out or anywhere else—really is about the last thing an aspiring writer needs.”

10. You have three months. “The first draft of a book—even a long one—should take no more than three months, the length of a season.”

11. There are two secrets to success. “I stayed physical healthy, and I stayed married.”

12. Write one word at a time. “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.”

13. Eliminate distraction. “There’s should be no telephone in your writing room, certainly no TV or videogames for you to fool around with.”

14. Stick to your own style. “One cannot imitate a writer’s approach to a particular genre, no matter how simple what that writer is doing may seem.”

15. Dig. “Stories are relics, part of an undiscovered pre-existing world. The writer’s job is to use the tools in his or her toolbox to get as much of each one out of the ground intact as possible.”

16. Take a break. “You’ll find reading your book over after a six-week layoff to be a strange, often exhilarating experience.”

17. Leave out the boring parts and kill your darlings. “(kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.)”

18. The research shouldn’t overshadow the story. “Remember that word back. That’s where the research belongs: as far in the background and the back story as you can get it.”

19. You become a writer simply by reading and writing. “You learn best by reading a lot and writing a lot, and the most valuable lessons of all are the ones you teach yourself.”

20. Writing is about getting happy. “Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid or making friends. Writing is magic, as much as the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink.”

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18 thoughts on “Steven King’s Top 20 Rules for Writing.

  1. Shawn L. Bird March 18, 2014 at 8:11 pm Reply

    Reblogged this on Shawn L. Bird and commented:
    I love Stephen King’s On Writing. It is inspiring, full of good advice, and worth reading repeatedly! Thanks for this summary, Bobbie!

  2. bobbiebandy March 18, 2014 at 8:24 pm Reply

    On Writing is one of my most valuable tools. I love how he breaks everything down into an easy-to-understand guide. Brilliant!

  3. Candice Coates March 18, 2014 at 8:29 pm Reply

    This is great! When I first got serious about writing, I would have dreams with near death experiences like hanging off a snow cliff with Stephen King. And in the midst of the cliff hanging moment I would ask him questions like “how do you write good horror?” Thanks for sharing.

  4. Candice Coates March 18, 2014 at 8:31 pm Reply

    Reblogged this on I came for the soup… and commented:
    This is a Reblog but totally worth the read. Seeking the Soup does involve gleaning wisdom for those who have been there, and done that, within the world of creative awesomeness. And for writers, who better to glean from than one of the greats like Stephan King?

  5. joaynn510 March 18, 2014 at 8:38 pm Reply

    It is not a coincidence that I stumbled upon this today since I usually am not on much but it is something God needed me to know. I started working on my book today after more than six month hiatus and I needed read this to help in my journey. Thank you bobbiebandy for sharing. And thank you Shawn Bird for reblogging. Awesome! BTW…. I love #1, #8, and #14! Thanks again.

  6. bobbiebandy March 18, 2014 at 9:15 pm Reply

    I’m glad this post is helping so many. 🙂 This book has helped me a ton.

  7. farrahdomid March 18, 2014 at 11:00 pm Reply

    Reblogged this on theshamelesswanderer.

  8. kelzshane March 18, 2014 at 11:05 pm Reply

    Reblogged this on kelzshane's Blog.

  9. atexasmist March 18, 2014 at 11:31 pm Reply

    Reblogged this on mistoftexas and commented:
    Superior advice

  10. vicbriggs March 19, 2014 at 12:12 am Reply

    Will have to note these down. Great reminders. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Meka March 19, 2014 at 4:17 am Reply

    Excellent reference article. Thanks for sharing!

  12. taknovrthewrld March 19, 2014 at 6:17 am Reply

    Reblogged this on Taknovrthewrld.

  13. Roziet Garruse March 20, 2014 at 1:17 am Reply

    Reblogged this on BOHEMIA and commented:
    Great points.

  14. Loved this! Thanks! I love Steven King and his advice sounds great…

  15. J. Mahogany March 20, 2014 at 3:21 am Reply

    Love this. Thank you for reposting 🙂

  16. J Nelson March 20, 2014 at 6:16 pm Reply

    Thanks for reposting! These tips are truly helpful for me right now.

  17. jdharvill May 6, 2014 at 8:33 pm Reply

    Reblogged this on JD Harvill's Blog and commented:
    I need to reread this every couple of months, so I’m posting it to my own blog!

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