Stephen King, the champion American author of crime, fantasy, horror, suspense, science fiction and supernatural fiction novels reveals how these writing strategies enabled him to channel 350 million books into the market.
Stephen King is recognized as one of the most famous and successful authors of the past five decades, with more than 70 novels of fantasy, horror and science fiction in his name.
16 years ago, King disclosed everything there is to know about writing a novel in his bestseller On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. A half memoir and half compilation of King’s remarkable writing strategies, this classic piece has been a great reference source for many writers.
You too can borrow a thing or two from these strategies to take your writing to the next level. The words of wisdom offered by King don’t just apply to fiction writers. As the strategies are highly practical for non-fiction projects as well.
Here are the eight writing techniques by Stephen King:
- Full Disclosure
King claims that it doesn’t matter what you choose to write about as long as you tell the truth. “Write about your interests, then give it life and make it stand out by combining your writing with your knowledge of life concepts including relationships, friendships, sex, work etc. Your individual experience makes you unique in a way, so be brave.”
- Use Small Words
Why use complex words when small ones still drive the point home? King indicates that the worst mistake a writer can make is to overdress their writing with a big vocabulary and long words because of the shame of using short ones. He equates this technique to dressing up a household pet in fancy evening wear.
- Single-Sentence Paragraphs
“The essence of fiction writing is not so much the grammatical delivery but to bond with the reader and narrate a story… if possible make your reader forget that they are reading a story,” King discloses.
The best way to make your reader feel welcome is by using single-sentence paragraphs as they resemble talking rather than writing, and that’s the best!
“Writing is an art of seduction, and so is fine talk. If that’s not the case, why do many couples start their date with simple talk then end up in bed?”
- Write For Your Ideal Audience
“Someone once said that writing novels is like writing letters aimed at one person, and I believe this,” King says.
Every author has a sole ideal reader, so when composing your story, you should ask yourself, ‘what will they think when they read this part of my story?’
For King, his ideal reader is his wife, Tabitha. So define who yours will be…
- Read Plenty of Books
Reading is the creative cornerstone of a writer’s life. King says that he takes a book with him everywhere he goes and he finds several opportunities to read. The trick is to master reading in small as well as great lengths.
Simple places such as waiting rooms, theatre lobbies and long boring checkout lines are fantastic places to soak in some pages.
- Draft One Word at a Time
“In an early radio talk-show interview, the host wanted to know how I write. I seemingly replied, ‘one word at a time’- this left him speechless. It’s plain simple,” King narrates.
- Write Daily
Write every single day… whether its binge or for a few hours. King recounts that he writes daily, including on Christmas, July the Fourth and his birthday.
If you feel that daily writing is not your cup of tea, LivingWriter can make it easier through its intuitive writing goals. Having chapter goals will help you calculate how many words you need to write per day, which will make a positive difference in your writing pace. Goals and deadlines can keep you on your toes every day!
- Let Writing Be Your Passion
“Though I’ve made plenty of bucks from my fiction, I have never put down a single word on paper to be paid for it. Writing may have paid off my house mortgage and put my children through college but those were side benefits. I write for the pleasure I get out of it, and if you can write for fun, you can write forever,” King concludes.
These top-notch writing strategies shared by this best-selling novelist are sure to dynamically change your writing game.
Create your next grand fiction and non-fiction book with LivingWriter today!
Further reading: Check out our interview with best-selling author Ivy Smoak for more great writing tips!