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On Writing by Stephen King

Book title: Stephen King On Writing

  1. build your own toolbox of writing
    • “Learn from others. Learn how to describe, build the plot, build a character. Recognize patterns, study the tone. Steal and make it your own.”
  2. Write for Yourself First
    • “When you’re writing a story, you’re telling yourself a story. When you rewrite, you’re taking out all the things that are not the story.”
    • “Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open.”
    • “Don’t let anyone or anything interfere while you first channel and write down your story. Let it come to you on its own without judgment, without even looking through a particular lens. Be objective. Then, when you’ve finished the first draft of any story, it’s time to put on some different glasses and rewrite with an open mind.”
    • “Write what you like, then imbue it with life and make it unique by blending in your own personal knowledge of life, friendship, relationships, sex and work.”
    • “Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.” / As a writer essential at describing characters, scenery, objects, situations, you name it.
  3. Write Every Day
    • “Once I start work on a project, I don’t stop and I don’t slow down unless I absolutely have to. If I don’t write every day, the characters begin to stale off in my mind — they begin to seemlike characters instead of real people. The tale’s narrative cutting edge starts to rust and I begin to lose my hold on the story’s plot and pace.”
    • Write at the same time in the same place every day. Make it a habit.
  4. Let go of Your Fear to Impress
    • “Good writing is often about letting go of fear and affectation, Affectation itself, beginning with the need to define some sort of writing as ‘good’ and other sorts as ‘bad’, is fearful behavior. Good writing is also about making good choices when it comes to picking the tools you plan to work with.”
  5. Do
    • “The hours we spend talking about writing is time we don’t spend actually doing it.”
  6. Read
    • “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or tools) to write.”
  7. Write a ‘Crammy’ First Draft
    • Ambitious writing goals and habitual and structural schedules
  8. Accept Your Vocabulary Level
    • “When it comes to a writing tool such as vocabulary, pack what you have without the slightest bit of guilt and feeling of inferiority.”
    • “Use the first word that comes to your mind, if it is appropriate and colorful.”
  9. Create a Good Writing Environment
    • “Eliminate every possible distraction.” / no distractions like phone, a TV, video games. /
  10. Take Some Distance Before You Edit and find a “best reader” to get advice first
    • “When you write a book, you spend day after day scanning and identifying trees. When you’re done, you have to step back and look at the forest.” What did you write, what did you try to convey? What’s your book really about?
    • “For me the answer has always been two drafts and a polish.”
    • “Formula: Second draft = First draft — 10%.”
    • to open the door and show your work to people close to you (about 5) and who are willing to give feedback.
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