Stephen King wants you to learn about writing.
How old were you when Stephen King first scared you? I was dumb enough to watch the original It at nighttime when I was far too young, and I haven't had a decent night's sleep since. I can still see Tim Curry's face haunting my every waking moment.
King has been working in films, television, and novels for many decades, and has been churning out some of the most thoughtful and original stories in the world. I found this video from Outstanding Screenplays where King gives his ten tips for writing.
I hope you find them useful. Check them out and let's talk after the jump.
What are Stephen King's 10 Writing Tips?
1. If you don’t succeed, get a bigger nail
This is a fancy way of saving you need to keep at it. Don't put all your hopes and dreams into one thing, write many.
2. Write six pages a day
For a novelist, that's not too much. For a screenwriter, I think we can adapt that to writing one to two pages a day. The point is, always be honing your craft.
3. Go where the story leads you
Sometimes the best-laid plans don't go your way. Let the story guide you and take your characters where they need to be. Sometimes it can surprise you.
4. The good ideas will stay with you
What are the lingering stories you know you need to get out in the world? The ones that make your heart beat fast? Those are the ones you should be writing.
5. First you read and copy other writers, then little by little, you develop your own style
It's okay to imitate in the beginning. Learn how someone describes things on the page or the way they introduce characters. You will find your own voice through practice and repetition.
6. Writing is self-hypnosis, you need to have a routine
Are you a morning or night writer? Do you have a certain time of day you've set aside to help yourself grow? Make sure you do it daily so you don't have rust to shake off.
7. Start with short stories and let them develop into novels or screenplays
We like to say you should practice by writing outlines or treatments. Really develop the kinds of stories and beats you like, and then build from there. You can get to scripts later, just learn structure first.
8. Learn to write for different mediums
There are a lot of writing jobs out there, so don't limit yourself to just film or TV or video games. Be open to exploring lots of different options and you'll have more shots at booking lots of different jobs.
9. Look for ideas that you would really enjoy writing for longer periods
In film, we always say that you should chase an idea you think you'd be okay writing for three to five years, because that's how long the process of writing, shooting, and editing can be. So think about the stories that matter and that last.
10. Get immersed in your writing process until the outside world is gone
So much of writing is getting in the zone, shutting things out, and chasing a dream. Allow yourself to sink in and enjoy the process so much you want to return day in and out.
What else have you learned from King? Tell us in the comments!