On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Quite a few people have advised me to read Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. So over the holidays I bought the book, and have been trying to read it.

Like my new year’s resolutions to write every day, post more regularly to this blog, and do more yoga, the reading of this book has fallen off my agenda amidst a crazy start to 2014.

Nevertheless, I’ll do a bit of cheating and share with you some of the best (or should I say most amusing?) passages I’ve come across in the book so far. Hopefully they’ll provide us both with a little bit of motivation.

Here is a little nugget of wisdom on keeping vocabulary simple:

One of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you’re maybe a little bit ashamed of your short ones. This is like dressing up a household pet in evening clothes. The pet is embarrassed and the person who committed this act of premeditated cuteness should be even more embarrassed.

Or this one on “he said/she said” being the best form of dialogue attribution:

…while to write adverbs is human, to write he said or she said is divine.

Finally, in relation to Stephen King’s advice to use the first word that comes to your mind:

And do feel free to take appropriateness into account; as George Carlin once observed, in some company it’s perfectly all right to prick your finger, but very bad form to finger your prick.


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