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Stephen King's Writing Tips for Beginner Writers

May , 2017
" On Writing: A Memoir of The Craft" is the culmination of Stephen King's prolific writing odyssey. After several decades of writing fiction, Stephen finally decided to aggregate all the tips and bits he learned from his craft share it in a guide-like book meant to help beginner writers hone in their writing skills. Stephen acknowledged that writing such a memoir was not an easy thing " I must tell you, though, that confidence during the actual writing of this book was a commodity in remarkably short supply. What I was long on was physical pain and self-doubt".



Among the different things Stephen recommended for beginner writers is the creation of a writing toolbox :
I want to suggest that to write to your best abilities, it behooves you to construct your own toolbox and then build up enough muscle so you can carry it with you. Then, instead of looking at a hard job and getting discouraged, you will perhaps seize the correct tool and get immediately to work. (p. 114)
This toolbox is composed of several layers:

1st layer : vocabulary
Lexicon is an important element in Stephen's toolbox and here what he said about it:

Put you vocabulary on the top shelf of your toolbox, and don't make any conscious effort to improve it ( you will be doing that as you read...). One of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you re may be a little bit ashamed of your short ones... Remember that the basic rule of vocabulary is use the first word that comes to your mind, if it is appropriate and colorful. If you hesitate and cogitate, you will come up with anther word... but it probably wont be as good as your first one, or as close to what you really mean....Why in God's name would you want to make things worse by choosing a word which is only cousin to the one you really wanted to use ? (p.118)

2nd Layer: Grammar
Grammar, for Stephen, is not only " a pain in the ass, it is the pole you grab to get your thoughts up on their feet and walking" (p. 121). To make a better use of grammar in your writing, avoid the use of passive voice.
" I think timid writers like them {passive verbs}for the same reason timid lovers like passive partners. The passive voice is safe. There is no troublesome action to contend with; the subject just has to close its eyes and think of England, to paraphrase Queen Victoria. I think unsure writers also feel the passive voice somehow lends their work authority, perhaps even a quality of majesty". (p. 123)
Besides passive voice, adverbs are the second grammatical elements Stephen do not like much.
"With adverbs , the writer usually tells us he/she is afraid he/she is not expressing himself/herself clearly, that he or she is not getting the point or the picture across." (p. 124)
Another thing which Stephen insisted on as being integral to the act of writing besides creating a toolbox is reading. Extensive reading is sine qua non for any writer and Stephen himself stated that he reads between 70 to 80 novels a year. On the importance of reading , Stephen said:
The more fiction you read and write the more you will find your paragraphs forming on their own. And that's what you want. When composing it's best not to think too much about  where paragraphs begin and end, the trick is to let nature takes its course. If you don't like it later on, fix it then. (p. 132)
He further stated that :
The real importance of reading is that it creates and ease and intimacy with the process of writing ... Constant reading will pull you into a place ( a mindset ) where you can write eagerly and without self-consciousness. It also offers you a constantly growing knowledge of what has been done and what hasn't, what is trite and what is fresh, what works and what just lies there dying( or dead ) on the page. The more you read the less apt you are to make a fool of yourself with your pen or word processor. (p. 150) 

In the rest of the book, Stephen provided a bunch of important writing tips to help you write better. Give "On Writing: A Memoir of The Craft " a read to learn more.