listen to the King

i’m going to put my cards out there. here it goes:

i’ve never read a novel by Stephen King.

yes, i know this should probably change – i just have a really bad habit of only reading authors who are long dead, and he’s not quite there yet.


some of the best advice on writing i’ve ever “received” came from Stephen King.

if you don’t have a copy, you should buy On Writing. it’s full of all kinds of wisdom, like:

“the road to hell is paved with adverbs.”

“write with the door closed, re-write with the door open.”

“description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”

and other words of that ilk.

whether you like Mr. King’s novels or not is not the point. no one can argue he is one of the most readable authors of this generation – if he weren’t, then he wouldn’t be so prolific and successful. not that you can’t create a masterpiece that’s utterly unreadable – hell, Faulkner did that with Absalom, Absalom!

but the main point of writing – like it or not – is to be read. and it’s important to learn to be readable. i struggled with that in my beginning years of writing, and if i’m being honest, i still struggle with it now like a lion with another lion but not the kind he likes to be with struggles to overcome the obstacle that he needs to because. see what i mean? but that doesn’t mean all of us have to struggle.

so do yourself a favor this Christmas. buy a few less drinks to dull your pain of writer’s rejection and use that money to get yourself On Writing as a stocking stuffer. this isn’t a commercial – no one’s paying me to say this. it’s just good advice.

like i once said of my virginity: “take it or leave it.”


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