Tag Archives: Stepehn King

4 Inches More? You Never Expected This!

What is your worst writing habit?

Mine is feeling overwhelmed with my novel.

We’ve wrestled, sorta, and the pages have won.

Here’s what I figure. On a good day I can write a thousand words in an hour. That’s 5,000 a week. 5,000 words per week X 52 weeks = 260,000 words. An hour a day, 260,000 words in a year. For me, that’s almost five and a half novels. Good novels? Maybe not. But drafts.

So why not do that?

Stephen King does. 2,000 words per day. Every day. Seven days a week.


Write a list of everything that gets in your way of writing, no matter how small.

Write a list why you deserve to write. Write everything, even your secret desires.

Now go through list number one. What things on this list are more important than you being happy? Cross those things off. Some stuff will be left, that’s the way it should be. There ARE things more important than writing. (Who knew?)

Last of all, pen a note to yourself saying why it’s okay to write even the hard stuff.

Now go write your dreams.

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Three Things Thursday

Three Things to Help Improve Your Writing

Carol: Even if you have been knocked off your feet, and away from your goals by laziness or flu or family worries or bad weather or other work or sadness or whatever, here’s the best bit of advice I can give you:  you can start your goals anew each day. Every day. try again. Again. A baby step at a time. 250 words. 100 words. Even 50.

Just don’t give up. 50 words a day by the end of the year is about 16,000 words–half a mid grade novel. Or a LOT of picture books. Or a quarter of a YA.

You get the picture.

Wait? What? I’m the only one who’s behind?



I’ve always been fascinated with names and, as a kid, I wanted to know what my name meant. I looked it up, but all it said was “see Brent.” Brent? A boy’s name? And it meant “a fighter.” Oh, definitely a boy’s name! My only solace: my middle name was Virginia – clearly a girl’s name . . . and it meant “innocent.” So I was an innocent fighter.
When I was older I realized many names had both feminine and masculine versions. Too late — it was too ingrained that my name was not particularly feminine. I never did feel very “girly.”
How do you come up with names for your characters? Make them up? Pour through naming books or websites? Some awesome sites offer names, including international ones, give the meanings, sometimes even pronunciations, and which are “boys” names, which are “girls.” You can even find sites for the most popular names each year which go back many years. You’ll want to christen your characters with names evocative of your time period too, the ethnic background, and/or personality of your characters.
What names have you made up? Looked up? Used? Discarded? Why? And how do they feel about their names, their meanings, and the effects those have on their character?
Stephen King says there are two readers that every writer needs to have. One is the person that is enthralled by every single thing you put on paper. The other is a person that is brutally honest no matter what. 
Do you have your people? 
If not, there’s no better time to start looking. Writers need readers. We need to trust someone enough to let them read our first drafts. We need deadlines, and we need someone to ask about how our writing is going. 
And if you already have your people, ask if you can be a reader for someone you admire. This is what makes the writing community so amazing, and this is how to become a part of it. There’s no better time to start. 

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Three Things Thursday

From Cheryl Van Eck

In rereading ON WRITING by Stephen King, one passage really stood out to me.  He spoke about “killing your darlings,” or getting rid of any words or sentences that don’t work. For me, that always meant cutting out the parts you liked, but weren’t actually any good. However, for him, it means cutting anything that doesn’t contribute effectively to the story, whether it’s good or bad. 

“Certainly I couldn’t keep it in on the grounds that it’s good,” he writes, “it should be good, if I’m being paid to do it.  What I’m not being paid to do is be self-indulgent.”

This struck me in a new way. If I’m expecting to be paid, everything I write should be good. Instead of finding ways to rationalize why a certain passage should stay in (“But my writing group thought it was funny!”), I should be focused on making every word worthy of payment.  Each word needs to submit to a higher power…which, in this case, is the almighty Story.

As Carol always says, “Pretend you have to pay a dollar for every word you use…then see how carefully you choose your words.”

Speaking of the devil–From Carol

Writing a novel in poetry (THE BRAID) or short choppy lines (my novel GLIMPSE) means thinking of all the words you use. Each is weighted. Each plays an important part. There is very little to throw away.

Take an important section of your book.

Rewrite in short sentences.

Think Ann Dee’s work EVERYTHING IS FINE.

Play with structure.

Cut excess words.


What do you have when you’re finished? Do you like it? Does the novel lend itself to this kind of style? What have you learned?

From Brenda Bensch

A couple of months ago in an issue of Writer’s Digest, I saw a photograph of three people – at least two of them were children – walking hand-in-hand along a snowy path between trees. The misty air in front of them obscured whatever may have lain at the end of their path. Readers had been invited to write the first sentence of a new story based on the photo, where the ten “best” openings were published.
It made me think of a good exercise: using an old favorite painting, print, or photograph hanging in your home (or something from an art book, magazine, newspaper, whatever) write ten one-sentence beginnings to new stories. Which three sentences are the best? If you’re brave, show them to relatives, friends, or your critique group, and get their votes. Which one fires the most interest in you, the writer? Which one could be a good short story, poem or even the beginning of a novel?

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