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Stephen King’s prime rule on writing

Posted on: August 10, 2011

On WritingOn Writing by Stephen King
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It’s impossible to write a definitive book on writing. There’s so much to say and everybody is at a different entry point. But the first 118 pages of this book are padding and, though interesting, can be skipped. The last 65 pages are also disposable.

The meat of the book is in the middle section called Toolbox, which is about 180 pages in my edition and can be read in a few hours as there aren’t many words per page.

It’s probably not advisable to read it so quickly, though, as there is a lot of wisdom distilled into this section. If you can already write you won’t disagree with anything that Stephen King says. If you can’t write, I’m not sure it will teach you very much. But it serves as a useful reminder of things that writers should keep in mind.

Some writers will agree with it but still not follow his advice and not realise they are not following it.

Just this week I came across several aspiring writers who are happy to tell the world that they don’t have time to read and have never read much. They think it doesn’t matter because they write what they know.

Stephen King’s prime rule is: write a lot and read a lot.

If you don’t follow it, you don’t know anything.

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2 Responses to "Stephen King’s prime rule on writing"

I feel like a slacker since I’ve never read this oft-mentioned book, but I’m not much of a Stephen King fan. I’ve tried a couple of times to get into his books, but never finished the ones I’ve started.

I prefer to take advice from the writers I most admire, which is probably why I’ve read all of Lois McMaster Bujold’s essays and listened to Joss Whedon’s DVD commentaries over and over. 😉

Ah, ah, ah, it’s Lindsay!


I have only read IT but I was very pleased with myself because it’s loooooong.

I’ve never heard of those writers you mention but I know that if Stephen King was just starting out, he should be reading your blog.

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