A writer inspired by nature and human nature


Awesome advice from one of the greats! ~ Bette A. Stevens

Jens Thoughts

CA: Premiere Of Paramounts' Remake Of "The Manchurian Candidate" - ArrivalsWant to know what Stephen King says about 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…

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Comments on: "Stephen King’s Top 20 Rules for Writers" (17)

  1. Good advice, for the m ost part … but we each have our own way of doing things that works for us. I can write anywhere, no matter how busy it is because once I start, the world disappears and I don’t see or hear anything but what’s going on in my mind. But going into my office and locking the door works too 🙂 I wish he would stop picking on adverbs.

    • Some great advice from Stephen and I keep his book ON WRITING nearby as a handy reference, but like you, I’m fond of adverbs. I beat my own drum, but need reminders too and some of his are right on for me. Like you, when I’m writing the world keeps spinning around me, but I’m in my own time warp. Happy Writing! ❤

      • Garry is forever scaring me half to death when I’m writing. He needs to wear a bell or something. He talks to me and I jump out of my skin. I go so deep int the words, I am oblivious. But I guess not everyone does that.

  2. That’s me! By the way, I think you’d enjoy ON WRITING if you haven’t read it already. It’s written in an autobiographical style and I learned a lot about my neighbor other than the fact that we share an Alma Mater. Dan thinks I’m married to the computer these days. I really think I need to spend more quality time with my Main(e) Man! Hugs & love to you and Garry! ❤

    • This is exactly why I moved out of my office onto my laptop in the living room. Garry and I may not talk much, but we are at least together in the same room. When I worked in my office, we sometimes barely saw each other for days at a time, even though we are in the same house.

      I’ve read pieces of King’s book. Always intended to read all of it, but my reading list is endless. I will NEVER get to all the books waiting for me. It’s daunting.

      • I know what you mean about a daunting TBR & R list… Must get busy. However, I’m going to try to get away from the computer for a few hours a day so Dan doesn’t feel like a widower. Time to priorities according to what’s most important for me. Don’t know how you do all that you do, Superwoman! ❤

      • I do a lot less than I ought and Garry does a lot of the stuff I used to do. Shopping, laundry, dogs care. I couldn’t survive without him.

      • Dan’s my live-in chef these days. He follows the cooking shows during the winter (besides working on inside renovations to buildings)and prepares gourmet dishes we couldn’t afford to buy or even get at local restaurants. I’m eating it up! I’m a lucky gal. Other four seasons, he’s outside making our world more beautiful and accessible–a workaholic who loves what he does. Like you, there are lots of things I can’t do since my back problems, but I can always count on my sweetie to come through.

  3. King lives in Maine…is he near you Bette? Not a great fan because his work scares me and I don’t want to have a heart attack, but his advice is good. He ought to know what works, wouldn’t you say?

    • Hi, Kathryn. King lives in Bangor (about 45 miles north of us). He’s a huge supporter of his local community and I commend and respect him for that. I enjoyed several of his short stories, written before he was crowned with celebrity status, but like you, I don’t enjoy scary stuff. And, yup, I figure he knows what he’s talking about since his book is really a story of his life and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Like Marilyn says, we each have to pen our own path. Take what sounds sensible and works and figure that we’re all unique. That’s a good thing! Happy reading & writing! ❤

  4. Thanks, Bette. Great advice from another Mainer. I plan to give his book on writing to the members of my critique group.

  5. I find his advice very uplifting. Thanks for the reminder

  6. […] Stephen King’s Top 20 Rules for Writers. […]

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