Stephen’s book, “On Writing” is blunt as it is bold. It truly speaks from experience, and further, throws light, with genuine pointers, to shape our understanding of writing a good craft. 

Genuine pointers from Stephen’s first book on writing: 

  1. If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.

2. Stories consist of 3 parts: 

Narration: It moves the story from point A to point B

Description: It creates a sensory reality for the reader

Dialogue: It brings characters to life through their speech

3. The situation comes first. The character always flat and unfeatured to begin with, comes next.

4. Whether it’s a vignette of a single page or an epic trilogy like The Lord of the Rings, the work is always accomplished one word at a time

5. The most interesting questions can always be expressed as a What-If Question?

6. The best stories always end up being about the people rather than the event 

7. With a passive verb, something is being done to the subject of the sentence. The subject is just letting it happen. You should avoid the passive tense

The meeting will be held. & The body will be carried.

8. Talk, whether ugly or beautiful, is an index of the character

9. Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.

10. The road to hell is paved with adverbs: Loudly, nastily, slowly, kindly, softly 

11. Never use ‘EMOLUMENT’ when you mean ‘TIP’

12. Set a daily writing goal. As with physical exercise, it would be best to set this goal low at first. I suggest a thousand words a day. 

13. Call that one person you write for Ideal Reader. He or she is going to be in your writing room all the time. 

14. If you can do it for joy, you can do it forever.  


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