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Stephen King's Top 20 Rules for Writers

Stephen King's Top 20 Rules for Writers
Image by the USO, via Flickr Commons In one of my favorite Stephen King interviews, for The Atlantic, he talks at length about the vital importance of a good opening line. “There are all sorts of theories,” he says, “it’s a tricky thing.” “But there’s one thing” he’s sure about: “An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story. It should say: Listen. Come in here. We’ve talked so much about the reader, but you can’t forget that the opening line is important to the writer, too. This is excellent advice. Revision in the second draft, “one of them, anyway,” may “necessitate some big changes” says King in his 2000 memoir slash writing guide On Writing. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. See a fuller exposition of King’s writing wisdom at Barnes & Noble’s blog. Related Content: Stephen King Creates a List of 96 Books for Aspiring Writers to Read Stephen King Writes A Letter to His 16-Year-Old Self: “Stay Away from Recreational Drugs”

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18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently Creativity works in mysterious and often paradoxical ways. Creative thinking is a stable, defining characteristic in some personalities, but it may also change based on situation and context. Inspiration and ideas often arise seemingly out of nowhere and then fail to show up when we most need them, and creative thinking requires complex cognition yet is completely distinct from the thinking process. Neuroscience paints a complicated picture of creativity. The Paris Review's Lorin Stein on the Power of Ambiguity in Fiction By Heart is a series in which authors share and discuss their all-time favorite passages in literature. See entries from Karl Ove Knausgaard, Jonathan Franzen, Amy Tan, Khaled Hosseini, and more. In the past five years, Lorin Stein has watched something happen at The Paris Review, the literary magazine he edits. A new generation of writers under 40 has emerged, he says; their essays, poems, and short stories don’t sound alike, but they’ve been shaped by the same forces and they share a set of concerns. The goal of The Unprofessionals—an anthology of new work harvested from the Review’s pages, edited by Stein—is to put these voices in one place and let them be taken in together. The result is a dispatch from the front lines of literature.

Ten Practical Tips for Writing in English Online opportunities are not created equal. Although access to the Internet is open to everyone, and the cost of publishing your thoughts are minimal, language gives a huge advantage to those who have learned English as their first language. They can reach the whole world by writing in their own language. For the rest of us, it requires a bit more work. I’m from Finland, a country of 5,2 million inhabitants at the northern end of Europe, right between Sweden and Russia, so when I started blogging, my decision was easy: if I wanted to reach more than a handful of people, I had to go with English. If you speak French, Spanish or Chinese, there is a bit more incentive for writing in your own language, but even then, the only way to reach the whole population of our planet is to write in English.

The Adverb Is Not Your Friend: Stephen King on Simplicity of Style by Maria Popova “I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops.” “Employ a simple and straightforward style,” Mark Twain instructed in the 18th of his 18 famous literary admonitions. And what greater enemy of simplicity and straightforwardness than the adverb? The 7 Cardinal Virtues of Successful Writers While the seven deadly sins are generally agreed upon, there are many lists of life's most important virtues. Today I will bring you another such list: Here are the seven cardinal virtues of successful writers. 1) DILIGENCE for regular writing I've said it before and I will keep saying it until it gets stuck on loop in your own head: To be a writer, what you have to do is write. Everything else you need to know can be picked up along the way. A daily writing routine will move you far closer to your writing goals than any reading project or theoretical study ever could.

201 Ways to Arouse Your Creativity Arouse your creativity Electric flesh-arrows … traversing the body. A rainbow of color strikes the eyelids. David Foster Wallace on Why You Should Use a Dictionary, How to Write a Great Opener, and the Measure of Good Writing By Maria Popova “Readers who want to become writers should read with a dictionary at hand,” Harvard psycholinguist Steven Pinker asserted in his indispensable guide to the art-science of beautiful writing, adding that writers who are “too lazy to crack open a dictionary” are “incurious about the logic and history of the English language” and doom themselves to having “a tin ear for its nuances of meaning and emphasis.” But the most ardent case for using a dictionary came more than a decade earlier from none other than David Foster Wallace. In late 1999, Wallace wrote a lengthy and laudatory profile of writer and dictionary-maker Bryan A.

Legal Writing Skills - Seven Ways To Improve Your Legal Writing Skills The written word is one of the most important tools of the legal profession. Words are used to advocate, inform, persuade and instruct. Although mastering legal writing skills takes time and practice, superior writing skills are essential to success. Polish your legal writing skills through the simple tips below. 1. Remember Your Audience

18 Quotes for Writers from Ernest Hemingway Today marks the 115th anniversary of Ernest Hemingway’s birth. In his lifetime, Papa had quite a lot to say about writing. Here are 18 of our favorite quotes, in no particular order. 1. How to Write a Symbolic Story Create your own symbols and your own cosmology and apply this to your story. As the storyteller you are essentially God to your creation, and the symbols you create hold whatever meaning you choose to apply to it. This is something that you may not feel confident enough to do at first, depending on how much writing you do, but you hold all the cards when you are telling a story and this is empowering.

How to Use Mental Illness in Your Writing Sunday, April 8, 2012 Mental illness is always a tricky topic to discuss, especially in the politically correct society of the present. I can tell you though, I work in a psychiatric hospital, and the patients there are often more than happy to discuss their illnesses, whether you would like them to or not. This is how I came to meet Jim Bob, the recovering-alcoholic duckling who likes nothing more than to chill out with his issue of Cosmo. It is all part of their character, and as we readers and writers of fiction know, character is a huge part of the story world. The most famous mentally ill character in fiction is of course Gollum/Sméagol.

The world's greatest literature reveals multifractals and cascades of consciousness James Joyce, Julio Cortazar, Marcel Proust, Henryk Sienkiewicz and Umberto Eco. Regardless of the language they were working in, some of the world's greatest writers appear to be, in some respects, constructing fractals. Statistical analysis carried out at the Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Polish Academy of Sciences, however, revealed something even more intriguing. The composition of works from within a particular genre was characterized by the exceptional dynamics of a cascading (avalanche) narrative structure.

How to Self Publish a Book: 23 Steps (with Pictures Edit Article Writing, Proofing, Designing, and CopywritingSelf-Publishing as an E-BookSelf-Publishing by Print on DemandSelf Publishing by Vanity Press/Subsidy Publishing Edited by Master Tyler, Flickety, Rob S, Soda Addict and 66 others Nabokov on Inspiration and the Six Short Stories Everyone Should Read by Maria Popova “A prefatory glow, not unlike some benign variety of the aura before an epileptic attack, is something the artist learns to perceive very early in life.” “Show up, show up, show up,” Isabel Allende advised, “and after a while the muse shows up, too.” “Inspiration is for amateurs,” Chuck Close famously proclaimed, “the rest of us just show up and get to work.”

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