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On Writing by Stephen King

Updated July 12, 2022
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On Writing by Stephen King essay

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On “On Writing,” Stephen King tells the reader how to write using specific examples. He mentions active and passive verbs, he explains why a writer should never use adverbs, and supplies examples of good and bad writing. In this section, King tells us what he does and does not do. He says these rules can be used by any writer, but this is mainly for beginning writers or those who are curious as to how Stephen King writes. He advices to write every day, seven days a week, no matter what.

The first thing that I learnt from King was that he loathes adverbs. He absolutely detests them. He does not say they should not be used at all, but they should only be used when it absolutely and honestly necessary. For this point, he brings up an instance of adverbs being used in dialogue – for example, ‘she said slowly’. He stresses that this rule should only be used when inevitable. If the dialogue in itself already shows the way in which it is expressed, an adverb in this case is not required. His bias is to use ‘said’, although he reveals he falls into the trap of using adverbs more than he would like to.

Something I found very useful from King was his tip on vocabulary. His advice is to use the most appropriate word, and most of the time, it is usually the first word that pops up in your mind. The only way for your vocabulary to improve is to read more. He stresses that when writing, one should not pause and think of a better word, and not to put in words that you are not really familiar with. If you are not familiar with the word, then there is a high chance that your audience probably does not know it either, so you should be fine. The whole point of this is to allow the readers to red smoothly, and having them wonder about what a word means or check what it means goes against the whole point.

Finally, King talks about the dangers and importance of descriptions, which I found very helpful. Descriptions are of importance because they make the reader a sensory participant in the story. However, he points out that there is a riskiness of describing more than necessary, which slows down the pace, bores the reader, and kills the imagination.

Stephen King’s advice here is to use descriptions but do not over do it. Just simply say what you see and get the story moving. It is of utmost importance to pick the right details that can stand for everything else. I found his advice to avoid too much description on individual attributes of characters as important because I tend to make this mistake almost all the time. He tells us that there is no need to do into much detail about the exact height, weight, hair and eye color of every character the writer comes across. King instructs writers to pen down the first visualized detail that pops up in your mind, with the priority to keep the ball moving.

On Writing by Stephen King essay

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On Writing by Stephen King. (2021, Dec 21). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/on-writing-by-stephen-king/

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