Adding to my pervious post: Note to Self (1/2) here are more note on On Writing by Stephen King.
- Stephen King distrusts plot
- Lives are largely plotless
- Plotting and spontaneity of real creation are not compatible
[ I feel the same way. When I’m forced to turn in a plot, I feel my characters are puppets/flat/dead when I want the characters to tell me where to go and they have the right to change their minds. ]
- Stories are found things and writers discover and excavate
- How-to + how-much-to
- Must learn from reading and writing a lot
- First visualize what you want readers to experience, then transcribing it into words
- begins in writer’s imagination but should finish in the reader’s imagination
- Why bother writing it?
- What is it all about?
- 1st draft (during/just after): read over and decide what it is about (might be hidden until now)
- 2nd draft: make the theme even more clear
2nd draft = 1st draft – 10% (word count)
I’ve wrote about what I learn from On Writing by Stephen King about being a writer. Here I begin to take notes from the part of the book on writing skills.
Use the first word that comes to your mind, if it is appropriate and colorful.
- No need to be ashamed to use short and precise words
- Don’t force unfamiliar “big words” into your writing
- Use the first word that jumps into your mind
Avoid Passive Tense
- Why? It’s weaker, harder to read, less clear.
- Why? It’s the voice of a timid, fearful writer.
- When? If using a subject brings up passive tense, try switching the subject.
Example: "The body was hidden." vs. "The killer hid the body."
Adverb Is Not Your Friend
- Why? Avoiding it will lead to a better expression. Example: “He closed the door firmly” vs. “He slammed the door.”
- Why? It’s lazy and uncreative.
- Why? Adverbs are weeds among good writing.
- Where? In dialogue attribution:
- If you write in active verbs, the readers should already follow the speakers’ emotions without adverbs. Adverbs only weaken the writing.
- It’s best to use “said”, also 1 of the Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing. And avoid over using attribution verb, like he “gasped”.
- “…” he said, with a flush. This is an adverb phrase–a taller weed.