What should every aspiring writer know about writing?

Answer by Jim Jacob:

STEPHEN KING ON THE ART OF WRITING A FICTION NOVEL

One of the most prolific and successful writers of 20th century, Stephen King, penned down his memoir, ‘On writing: The memoir of the craft’( On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the Craft

), in the year 2000 discussing about the craft of writing. The man who gave us frighteningly beautiful horror tales like The Shining

,The Stand, Carrie

,Misery

and many other (he has published 54 novels, and has sold more than 350 million copies so far in his career) and stories for some of the best movies of all time like, The Shawshank Redemption

, Stand by Me

,The Shining

, The Green Mile, talks about his life and his journey as a writer.
This book, is not like a Bible, with rules and regulations for an aspiring writer, it is an encapsulation of insights that King gathered as a writer in his career spanning more than four decades. I have tried to capture the essence of the advice he gives out in his wonderful autobiography but, this in no way cover all the insights he doles out in his book. Regardless, of whether you are a fan of his work or not, you should give it a try for the sheer pleasure of getting a peek into the journey of an astonishingly amazing fiction writer. If you are an aspiring writer you will keep paying this book a visit, every now and then, for inspiration (At least that’s what my aspiring/struggling writer friends do
         1. YOUR FIRST JOB AS AN ASPIRING WRITER:
“There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn’t to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up.”
     2. GOOD STORY, OVER THEME:
“Good fiction always begins with story and progresses to theme; it almost never begins with theme and progresses to story.”
    3. ON THE TECHNICALITIES OF WRITING:
 a.No adverbs:
“The adverb is not your friend. Especially after “he said” and “she said.”
 b.Active voice over Passive voice:
“Timid writers like passive verbs for the same reason that timid lovers like passive partners. The passive voice is safe.”
 c.Importance of Paragraphs:
“Paragraphs are almost always as important for how they look as for what they say; they are maps of intent.”
“In fiction, the paragraph is less structured—it’s the beat instead of the actual melody. The more fiction you read and write, the more you’ll find our paragraphs forming on their own. And that’s what you want.”
 d.The subtle art of Description

  • “In many cases when a reader puts a story aside because it ‘got boring,’ the boredom arose because the writer grew enchanted with his powers of description and lost sight of his priority, which is to keep the ball rolling,”
  • “Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s… in a way that will cause your reader to prickle with recognition”

e.Stop being a grammar Nazi:
” The object of fiction isn’t grammatical correctness but to make the reader welcome and then tell a story.”
     4. ON CRAFTING THE STORY:
  a.How to begin:

  • “Write what you like, then imbue it with life and make it unique by blending in your own personal knowledge of life, friendship, relationships, sex, and work. Especially work. People love to read about work.”
  • “In my view, stories and novels consist of three parts: narration, which moves the story from point A to point B and finally to point Z; description, which creates a sensory reality for the reader; and dialogue, which brings characters to life through their speech. You may wonder where the plot is in all of this. The answer—my answer, anyway—is nowhere.”

   b.On building characters:

  • “Nobody is “the bad guy” or “the best friend” or “the whore with a heart of gold” in real life; in real life we each of us regard ourselves as the main character, the protagonist, the big cheese; the camera is on us, baby. If you can bring this attitude into your fiction, you may not find it easier to create brilliant characters, but it will be harder for you to create the sort of one-dimensional dopes that populate so much pop fiction.”
  • “If I don’t write every day, the characters begin to stale off in my mind”

   c. On the back story of a character:
“The most important things to remember about back story are that (a) everyone has a history and (b) most of it isn’t very interesting. Stick to the parts that are, and don’t get carried away with the rest. Long life stories are best received in bars, and only then an hour or so before closing time, and if you are buying.”
       5. ADVICE ON THE JOURNEY OF WRITING
    a. On setting up the room:
“Put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn’t in the middle of the room. Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.”
     b.On timelines:
“The first drafts of a book—even a long one—should take no more than three months, the length of a season.”
      c.On distractions:
“If possible, there should be no telephone in your writing room, certainly no TV or videogames for you to fool around with. If there’s a window, draw the curtains or pull down the shades unless it looks out at a blank wall. For any writer, but for the beginning writer in particular, it’s wise to eliminate every possible distraction. If you continue to write, you will begin to filter out these distractions naturally, but at the start it’s best to try and take care of them before you write. … When you write, you want to get rid of the world, don’t you? Of course you do. When you’re writing, you’re creating your own worlds.”
     6. PARTING ADVICE FOR ALL ASPIRING WRITERS:
      a. The love for the craft

  • “I’ve written because it fulfilled me. Maybe it paid off the mortgage on the house and got the kids through college, but those things were on the side–I did it for the buzz. I did it for the pure joy of the thing. And if you can do it for joy, you can do it forever.”
  • “Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well”b.  Importance of reading
  • “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot”
  • ”If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.”

     b. On criticism

  • “If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered anyway,”
  • “There are lots of would-be censors out there, and although they may have different agendas, they all want basically the same thing: for you to see the world they see… or to at least shut up about what you do see that’s different. They are the agents of the status quo.”

7.  KING’S MANTRA FOR A LONG AND SUCCESSFUL CAREER AS WRITER:
“I stayed physical healthy and I stayed married.”

What should every aspiring writer know about writing?

About akiramorikawa

superconnection . pattern-recognition . iDesign
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