Stephen King’s Masterclass on How to Write a Bestselling Novel – Expert Advice from the King of Horror Himself

Stephen king how to write

Stephen King is one of the most successful writers of our time. His name has become synonymous with horror and suspense, and his stories have inspired countless aspiring writers. In his memoir “On Writing,” King gives us a glimpse into his writing process and shares invaluable advice for anyone looking to find success in the craft.

One of the first tips King gives is to read. He believes that in order to be a good writer, you have to be a voracious reader. He says, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.”

King also stresses the importance of writing every day. He says, “Writing is not about getting to the finish line, but rather about the act of writing itself.” He suggests setting a goal of at least 1,000 words a day and sticking to it. Even on the days when you don’t feel inspired, King advises you to sit down and write. “The moment you start moving your pen or tapping on the keyboard, the words will come,” he says.

Another tip King gives is to always write for yourself first and foremost. He says, “Write the story that you would like to read.” King believes that if you write something that you truly enjoy, there will always be a reader out there who will enjoy it too.

King also emphasizes the importance of being a firm editor of your own work. He advises writers to kill their darlings, meaning to cut out any unnecessary or self-indulgent parts of their stories. “Your prose should be as tight as a closed fist,” he says.

King’s tips for getting started on a new story are also useful. He suggests starting with a moment, a scene, or an image that captivates you. Then, you can build the story around that starting point. He says, “Sometimes it’s the smallest thing that can lead to the biggest story.”

For King, the most important tool a writer can have is the craft of storytelling. He says, “The craft is the water that comes out of the tap; the art is what you do with it.” King believes that the craft of storytelling can be learned and improved upon, but the art of it comes from within.

When working on a story, King advises writers to always keep the reader in mind. He says, “Remember that you’re not writing for yourself, but for an audience.” King believes that writers should strive to create stories that will keep readers turning the pages.

King’s final tip is to never give up. He reminds aspiring writers that he received dozens of rejection letters before his first novel was published. King says, “If you really want to be a writer, you have to believe in yourself and keep pushing forward. The only way to fail is to stop trying.”

In conclusion, Stephen King’s 10 tips for writers are not only inspiring, but also practical and useful. His years of experience and success in the industry give his advice a sense of authority and authenticity. If you’re an aspiring writer looking for guidance, King’s words are a great place to start.

Sources: Stephen King On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

What Are Stephen King’s 10 Writing Tips

Stephen King is one of the most successful and inspiring writers of our time. With decades of writing experience under his belt, he gives aspiring writers valuable tips and insights into the craft. Here are Stephen King’s 10 top writing tips:

  1. Read a lot and write a lot: King firmly believes that to be a good writer, you must first be a voracious reader. He advises aspiring writers to read widely and write consistently to hone their skills.
  2. Find your own voice: King encourages writers to develop their unique style and voice. Instead of trying to imitate other successful authors, focus on finding your own writing voice.
  3. Start with a firm idea: Before diving into a story, King suggests having a clear idea of what you want to write. This will help you stay focused and avoid getting lost in the middle of your work.
  4. Avoid using passive voice: King advises writers to use active voice in their writing. Passive voice can make writing seem weak and create distance between the reader and the story.
  5. Write for yourself first: When writing, focus on what you enjoy and what excites you. King believes that if you write stories that you would love to read, others will find them enjoyable too.
  6. Kill your darlings: In the editing process, King advises writers to be ruthless and remove any unnecessary or indulgent elements from their work. Kill your darlings to make your writing leaner and more impactful.
  7. Work on improving your craft: King emphasizes the importance of continuously learning and improving as a writer. Take writing classes, read books on writing, and constantly challenge yourself to grow.
  8. Get feedback, but trust your instincts: While it’s helpful to get feedback from others, King warns writers not to rely too heavily on external opinions. Trust your own instincts and judgment when it comes to your writing.
  9. Be disciplined and make writing a habit: King writes every day, without fail. He encourages aspiring writers to establish a writing routine and stick to it, even when inspiration is lacking.
  10. Never give up: King acknowledges that writing can be a challenging and frustrating journey. But he advises writers to never give up on their dreams and to keep pushing forward, no matter the obstacles.

These 10 tips from Stephen King provide valuable guidance for writers at all stages of their journey. By following his advice and putting in the hard work, aspiring writers can improve their craft and increase their chances of success in the literary world.



When it comes to finding images, aspiring writers can take a page out of Stephen King’s book. The King of Horror has always been a firm believer in using visual aids to inspire his writing. In his memoir “On Writing,” he mentions that he had an account with a stock photo website where he would search for images that sparked his imagination.

King recommends finding images that are ambiguous and leave room for interpretation. He suggests using photos that depict a closed door, a moving train, or even a timid-looking person. These types of images can be useful for jump-starting the creative process and getting the writer’s mind in motion.

Another tip from King is to use images that capture a specific moment. For example, a photo of a water droplet falling from a leaf or a child’s first step can evoke powerful emotions and serve as inspiration for a story.

One of the key tools that King suggests aspiring writers have is a lawn mower. He says that mowing the lawn can be a great way to clear your mind and allow new ideas to flow. Plus, it gives you some physical activity to balance out the sedentary work of writing.

But it’s not just about finding the right images or having the right tools. King also emphasizes the importance of craft and honing your writing skills. He advises writers to practice their craft every day and to pay attention to the details of the world around them. By observing people, places, and events with a writer’s eye, you can develop a keen sense of storytelling.

One of the most inspiring things about King’s writing is his ability to create vivid images with his prose. His descriptions are so vivid, it’s almost like watching a movie. He often uses similes and metaphors to paint a picture in the reader’s mind, giving them a clear sense of what the scene looks, sounds, smells, and feels like.

King’s success as a writer is not just due to his ability to craft captivating stories, but also his dedication to his readers. He understands that the reader is the most important person in the writing process and he strives to give them a great reading experience. King advises writers to always keep the reader in mind and to avoid using obscure words or convoluted sentences that might distract or confuse the reader.

So, if you’re an aspiring writer looking for tips on how to improve your craft, take a page from Stephen King’s book – both literally and figuratively. Use images to inspire your work, put in the time and effort to perfect your writing, and always keep the reader at the top of your mind. With the right tools and the right mindset, you’ll be well on your way to success as a writer.

Stephen King names his top five Stephen King stories

Stephen King is a renowned writer with decades of success under his belt. His stories are inspiring and have moved readers throughout the years. In his memoir, “On Writing,” King gives aspiring writers valuable tools and advice on how to craft a successful story.

When it comes to his own work, King firmly believes that the most important aspect of a story is its characters. He looks for stories that have strong, relatable characters who drive the plot forward. King’s top five Stephen King stories reflect his preference for character-driven narratives.

1. “The Shining” – This haunting tale takes place in the secluded Overlook Hotel, where a timid writer named Jack Torrance, working as a caretaker, finds himself entangled in a sinister plot that threatens his sanity and the lives of his family.

2. “It” – In this epic novel, King delves into the small town of Derry, where a group of childhood friends must confront their deepest fears when a malevolent entity known as Pennywise the Clown resurfaces after decades.

3. “Misery” – King’s ability to create tension and suspense is at its peak in this gripping story. It follows Paul Sheldon, a famous writer who is held captive by his number one fan, Annie Wilkes, after a car accident. Sheldon quickly realizes that escaping may cost him more than just his freedom.

4. “Carrie” – Considered a classic in the horror genre, “Carrie” tells the story of a high school girl with telekinetic abilities, who uses her power to exact revenge on her tormentors. King’s mastery of suspense is on full display, making this a must-read for any fan of the genre.

5. “The Green Mile” – With a blend of fantasy and realism, this moving story takes place on death row. It follows the life of John Coffey, a man with extraordinary abilities, and the effect he has on the guards and inmates around him. King’s vivid descriptions and thought-provoking themes make this a standout in his body of work.

These five stories are just a glimpse into the rich world of Stephen King’s writing. If you’re a writer, aspiring or seasoned, studying his work and the craft he employs can provide valuable lessons and insight into the art of storytelling.

So, before you get too caught up in the various tools and techniques available to writers, take a moment to immerse yourself in the pages of a Stephen King story. You’ll find that there’s nothing more useful than a well-crafted tale to ignite your own imagination and motivate you on your writing journey.


When it comes to writing, Stephen King is one of the most successful and inspiring writers of our time. In his memoir “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft,” King gives aspiring writers useful tips and tools to improve their craft.

One of the key sources of inspiration for King has always been his love for reading. He firmly believes that in order to be a good writer, you must be a voracious reader. By immersing yourself in the works of other writers, you’ll find the tools and techniques that work for you.

King has said that writing is like uncovering a story that already exists. He compares it to a door that’s closed and hidden behind overgrown weeds and a timid writer must be brave enough to open it. As he puts it, “There’s an element of the story that has always been there, and you just uncover it. It’s like mowing a lawn. The more you mow, the more the lawn looks like a lawn.” So, the first step in writing is to find the story that’s waiting to be told.

Another key source for King is his personal experiences and observations. He often draws inspiration from the world around him. As he says, “I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the mountaintops. To put it another way, they’re like dandelions. If you have one on your lawn, it looks pretty and unique. If you fail to root it out, however, you find five the next day… fifty the day after that… and then, my brothers and sisters, your lawn is totally, completely, and profligately covered with dandelions. By then you see them for the weeds they really are, but by then it’s – GASP!! – too late.” King warns aspiring writers against using weak or unnecessary words that dilute the impact of their prose.

King’s writing tips are not only useful for aspiring writers, but also for established writers who are looking for ways to improve their work. One tip he gives is to kill your darlings – those sentences or passages that you love but don’t serve the story. By being willing to cut out the unnecessary or indulgent parts, you’ll create a tighter and more engaging story for the reader.

In addition to his memoir, King has also written several books on the craft of writing. “Stephen King: On Writing” is a collection of practical advice and insights into his own writing process. It’s a must-read for any writer who wants to learn from one of the masters of the craft.

In conclusion, the sources for Stephen King’s success as a writer are his love for reading, his personal experiences, and his willingness to constantly improve his own craft. By following his tips, writers can avoid common pitfalls, find their own voice, and create compelling stories that resonate with readers.

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