For a writer who has sold millions of copies including hit titles like Cujo and The Green Mile, it is hard to get it wrong with Stephen King. Stephen King has written more than 50 books and has fans around the world who adores his works. In his memoir he talks about his travails on writing and how he has come to succeed as one.
Yet, his book offers interesting insights for writers to develop their craft and become better writers. Here are eight pieces of advice from Stephen King on what common mistake you should not make with your writing.
Trying to please everyone but yourself
Truth is that not everyone will love what you write. There are different segments of the society and they all have their opinions on the approach you take to your writing. Yet according to Stephen King, rather than trying to please people or worrying about their opinions, do well to be as truthful as you can to yourself. It is apparently a waste of time trying to please anyone with your writing.
Being overly challenged by what you write
Many writers try to run away from seemingly difficult subjects to write. What they forget to understand is that such issues need digging deep rather than shying away from them. Actually, the most relevant things are the most difficult things to say, so excite yourself in the journey of breaking into the elements of the story as much as you can.
Connecting with the world while you write
You can’t get the words out right if you are deeply connected to the world while you write. The world with its many items poses a lot of distractions. So try and shut yourself away from it and focus on your writing. Going private with your writing is better than going public with it.
Using long paragraphs and adverbs
When you use your paragraph, let it add flow to your story rather than make it disjointed. Try to also be meticulous with the way you use adverbs. They could be destructive to your phrases or sentences rather than add beauty to them. An adverb after common words like ‘said,’ ‘ran’ and ‘heard’ may not contribute to the beauty of your writing but take from it.
Using too much description
Your description should not overshadow your story. Let your reader be able to deduce some of these themselves. Descriptions or background information should persuade the reader to want to continue reading rather than to divert them from the purpose of the story. Simplicity and clarity in your description will channel your message to your reader in a direct fashion.
Trying to play it safe
There is no use in trying to play it safe. Let your voice come out actively in a story. This makes the reader understand that you are aware and that you are in charge. There really is no point in sitting in a comfort zone. Do well to face and approach the adventures of writing accordingly.
Writing only when you are in the mood
There is no mood to writing. You can either love doing it all the time or settle for being average. According to King, the best way to get better as a writer is to “write consistently.” You are not going to be a rock star writer all at once but through little steps you will become a better writer.
Trying to be someone else
Every writer is unique. Some people adore other writers so much that they want to be just like them. You should understand that you are your own voice. Any other thing that comes out of you rather than your own voice will simply be a ‘pale imitation.’
As a writer myself, I totally see that there are underlying relevance to the points made by Stephen King. Do you agree?
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