Stephen King’s Top 20 Rules for Writers

Excellent advice from an outstanding and successful writer and a nice guy to boot!

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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10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gabriella
    Feb 25, 2015 @ 18:19:29

    Great suggestions! I particularly agree with the last one. This is also true of sketching and painting. You need to look at others to find your style.


  2. Let's CUT the Crap!
    Feb 25, 2015 @ 19:00:52

    Thank you for sharing, Kanzen. ❤


  3. neversaydi237
    Feb 25, 2015 @ 19:59:02

    I read his book, On Writing years ago. It is really full of wonderful tips…Initially I read it because I read everything he wrote-like a superfan. Wasn’t till years later that I wrote my own book that I really appreciated his insight.
    I still think he’s cool. 🙂
    Thanks for inspiring my afternoon!


  4. gpcox
    Feb 26, 2015 @ 08:43:22

    I have King’s book, “On Writing,” my favorite author knows how to do it!!


    • kanzensakura
      Feb 26, 2015 @ 13:04:54

      Yes he does. And he is so down to earth and friendly.


      • gpcox
        Feb 26, 2015 @ 13:14:57

        He remembers where he came from.


        • kanzensakura
          Feb 26, 2015 @ 16:17:31

          And that is what is important. I like the rule “I stayed married…”. I met him years ago when he was a guest at one of those early “comic cons”…He was friendly, readily giving advice and listening, playing endless games of hearts, drinking beer and eating baloney sandwiches at the various groups hospitality rooms…He remembers where he came from and who got him to where he is today.


  5. Mustang.Koji
    Mar 02, 2015 @ 00:45:05

    Wow… I never saw writing in the way he describes!


    • kanzensakura
      Mar 02, 2015 @ 11:23:45

      He published an excellent book, On Writing. He’s successful and a nice guy to boot. I figure, he would def know about writing, although I disagree with never using passive voice and about using adverbs – but that is just me, an unsuccessful writer! 😊


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