Lessons from the King himself.  Stephen King’s On Writing.

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My one page of notes turned into four.  That is how awesome this book was.  Here are a few of my favourite lessons:

  • Ideas are located in a special place and they just appear.  It is a writers job to recognize when these ideas manifest
  • Draft 1: Tell the story to yourself.  Draft 2: Remove anything that does not tell the story 
  • Draft 2 = Draft 1 − 10%
  • Start with the story.  Plot, characters and setting come after
  • Stopping a piece of work because it is hard is bad idea.  Sometimes you are doing good work even when it feels like crap
  • “The idea that creative endeavour and mind-alternating substances are entwined is one of the greatest pop-intellectual myths of our time.”
  • Do not come lightly to a blank page.  Value writing
  • Say what you want to say
  • Death to passive verbs!  Write with active verbs.  Ie The banana was peeled by Jason.  Passive, put Jason in charge!  Jason peeled the banana. 
  • Also, death to adverbs! (words ending in “ly”)  Ie Charlie punched Cliff in the face.  “Go to hell,” Cliff said angrilyCliff was just punched in the face!  Then he said, “Go to hell.”  I get it, he is pissed off.  The word angrily is pointless
  • Always carry a book with you
  • To be a writer you have to do two things: read a lot, and write a lot.
  • Writers space: make it your own, but no distractions
  • Make the story the driving point in your work.  Yes, story is on the list twice.  That is how important story is.  
  • Back story: Everyone has a history, most of it is boring 
  • Writers block is just a bullshit excuse to not write
  • Write truth
  • Write everyday, even on Christmas and on your birthday
  • Writing is free, drink and be filled up
Jason ManningComment