Stephen King On Wrting is essential reading for any writer. Its been my favorite and one of the few books I've re-read. Here are a few gems...
"You can approach the act of writing with nervousness,
excitement, hopefulness, or even despair—the sense that you
can never completely put on the page what’s in your mind
and heart. You can come to the act with your fists clenched
and your eyes narrowed, ready to kick ass and take down
names. You can come to it because you want a girl to marry
you or because you want to change the world. Come to it any
way but lightly. Let me say it again: you must not come lightly to
the blank page."
"If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all
others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around
these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut."
"“I’ll never be able to write anything that good, not if I live to be a thousand”—
but such feelings can also serve as a spur, goading the writer
to work harder and aim higher. Being swept away by a combination
of great story and great writing—of being flattened,
in fact—is part of every writer’s necessary formation. You cannot
hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your
writing until it has been done to you."
"If I write rapidly, putting down my story exactly as it
comes into my mind, only looking back to check the names of
my characters and the relevant parts of their back stories, I
find that I can keep up with my original enthusiasm and at
the same time outrun the self-doubt that’s always waiting to
"The most important things to remember about back story
are that (a) everyone has a history and (b) most of it isn’t very
interesting. Stick to the parts that are, and don’t get carried
away with the rest. Long life stories are best received in bars,
and only then an hour or so before closing time, and if you
"I’m often asked if I think the beginning writer of fiction can
benefit from writing classes or seminars. The people who ask
are, all too often, looking for a magic bullet or a secret ingredient
or possibly Dumbo’s magic feather, none of which can
be found in classrooms or at writing retreats, no matter how
enticing the brochures may be. As for myself, I’m doubtful
about writing classes, but not entirely against them."