On Writing

I’m not sure what I could say about this book that probably hasn’t already been said a million times. This is my all-time favourite book on writing. If I had to pick only one book about writing to recommend to people, this would be it.

I have to admit, I haven’t read a lot of Stephen King’s books, but I enjoyed the ones I did. It’s just that I’m not much of a horror fan. I can appreciate good writing though, and I am very grateful that Stephen chose to write this book to give us an insight into how his career progressed from teenage amateur to the superstar he is today.

From this book I discovered that even famous writers have the same worries as the rest of us. Stephen’s advice for avoiding self-doubt is to out-write it. So essentially, figure out your story’s main goal or question and then start writing, and keep writing until you’re done. Don’t take days off unless you absolutely have to, and trust that it’s all going to work out in the end.

There are so many awesome anecdotes and pieces of advice in this book, that I can’t cover them all. But one thing that I never realised (maybe because I’ve never done a proper writing course) is that you should avoid using adverbs in dialogue attribution. This has been a game-changer for me, as I tend to be a bit light on the ground with descriptions in my writing, and leaving out the adverbs forces you to think of more.

I also like the idea of having a single person that you write your books for. Even if they’re imaginary, it can help you to focus your attention, and you can ask yourself if that person would respond favourably to what you have just written.

If you are an aspiring writer, I think you should buy this book. You will realise that even Stephen King got a lot of rejections and lived on very little money for a long time before he became famous.

So hopefully there’s still hope for the rest of us!

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